The Santa Clarita Valley may soon have an enriched culinary arts program, as well as a new restaurant and catering facility.
COC’s Culinary Arts Institute is fundraising for the construction of a new building, one that could host twice as many students as the program currently allows.
“It’s become obvious that we have a program that a tremendous amount of students want and restaurants and hotels are telling us they have openings, so our job as a community college is to help them find work as well as train them,” said Murray Wood, chief development officer for COC Foundation. The waiting list is equal to the number of students taking the course.”
The program currently has 70 students and operates out of a restaurant in Castaic, but the new facility will allow for about 250 students, he said.
“I think of it as a nomadic program, always needing to find a place to teach students,” Wood said. “This will be the first time there will be a permanent home for this popular program.”
The new facility will not only give culinary students the opportunity to take advantage of COC’s brand new library and other campus facilities, but provide the local community a way to sample their work.
“The facility will have a restaurant or cafe that can fit 150 people, and a catering facility, because there’s always places in town that are looking to host events,” Wood said.
The foundation’s goal is to raise $6.7 million for the building and furnishing by the end of 2013, Wood said. It received a jump start with $3 million left over from the libraries construction, and has raised over $1.5 million in the last year and a half, Wood said.
The COC foundation will continue to host fundraising events after the new year, and is offering to dedicate individual rooms to the donors, he said.
COC hopes to begin construction by the end of 2014 but because it is chartered by the state they will have to await approval of drawings sent to Sacramento last spring, Wood said.