Plans for agricultural center far off

A new agricultural building is planting seeds for the future of education. 

Though a new building has been proposed on the vacant farmland, faculty say that it may not be constructed or open to students for a few more years. However, plans for the size and location of the proposed building have already been discussed.

Pierce College Vice President of Academic Affairs Sheri Berger announced that the new Agriculture Education Center will be located in the northwestern corner of the campus on Victory Boulevard and De Soto Avenue.

Berger said the building will be approximately 8,800 square feet. It will include one general classroom, a laboratory, a meeting room and two faculty offices. She said the design also has two green houses and a parking lot for 80 vehicles.

In a email interview, Berger said the building was prioritized in the Measure J list of bond projects, and that the reconstruction will benefit the college community.

“This will allow faculty and students an innovative curriculum to prepare students for gainful employment in the agricultural industry,” Berger said.

Berger said the Agriculture Education Center will facilitate the college’s ability to prepare students for the agricultural workforce in fields such as plant propagation, plant breeding and seed production.

“We want to prepare students academically for transfer to UC, CSU and major agriculture universities with a strong technical foundation in agricultural science,” Berger said.

David Salazar, Chief Facilities Executive for Build LACCD Program Management, said that his college project team will be managing the construction for the building.

In an email interview, Salazar said that LACCD approved the venture because it would be beneficial to agricultural students.

“The purpose for the building will help provide instructional and greenhouse environments with a state of the art laboratory, lecture classroom and a large meeting room,” Salazar said. “The two green houses will allow students to learn greenhouse management skills and sustainable food production techniques for the 21st Century.”

Dean of Math and Science Donna-Mae Villanueva said she is excited about the agricultural building.

“It’s going to be fabulous for our students,” Villanueva said. “Our goal is to help our program to attract students who are interested in pursuing their education in plant and agriculture science and to transfer to a four-year university.”

Villanueva said there are many benefits that the building has to offer science students.

“It will give students experience and hands-on learning because it is right by the farm. This will allow us to put a production table program at that end of the campus so that students can work on the farm,” Villanueva said.

However, Villanueva said the agriculture building project will not begin for some time.

“It’s not going to happen for at least another two to three years,” Villanueva said. “It will be a long process because, that’s how this works. It has to go through the design-build process, and then from there, it goes to state architects for the final process.”