Construction project cooking up bigger cafe

For the better part of two semesters, students of American River College have pardoned the dust of DLR Group architecture firm as they have a construction zone set up between the recently added life science and fine arts building and the fine and applied arts main building.

Something tangible has been erected, and passers-by will notice the new building is starting to take form.

Construction on this new culinary arts building started July 2013 and is scheduled to be completed Dec. 2014. According to Los Rios Facilities Management, the new building is to house ARC’s hospitality management program and will include a new and larger Oak Cafe.

“This project … (consists) of lecture, lab, office and storage spaces to accommodate growth in the culinary arts program,” said Laduan Smedley, director of administrative services. “The existing program facilities cannot expand to meet growing student program demands.”

“The new facility, which will grow the classroom space from a single lab classroom into three lab classrooms, will allow us to schedule classes based on the needs of students rather than the constraints of classroom space,” said Brian Knirk, department chair of culinary arts and hospitality management.

New technology in the facility includes a roll-in oven and a demonstration kitchen with cameras and monitors for students to review their work.

“The new facility also includes a temperature-controlled candy laboratory for the production of chocolate and other confections,” added Knirk.

Students can expect “new and better equipment as well as some curriculum changes in terms of the menu development and service within the Oak Cafe restaurant,” said Knirk. “The menu is likely to move away from the prix fixe only menu to a standard a la carte menu, more like the students are likely to see in the industry.”

David Keltgen, construction manager on the project, said DLR Group’s contract through Broward Builders Inc. was scheduled from July 2013 through Dec. 2014 and cost 8 million dollars total.

The new facility will be able to meet all of the needs of the students who come to ARC for its well-known culinary program, which has produced alumni like Food Network star Guy Fieri. The hospitality management faculty and students will also benefit from extra space in the new facility.
Facilities Management has another project currently underway that will be an addition to the southwest corner of the student services building, directly opposite the Rose Marks Pavilion

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