Cuyamaca College held a groundbreaking ceremony on Thursday for its future ornamental horticulture complex of classrooms, laboratories and greenhouses.
The $16.7 million project will include the renovation of indoor and outdoor educational facilities and the addition of state-of-the-art greenhouses to be used by students in the college’s ornamental horticulture program. Funding comes from a 2012 Proposition V bond measure approved by local voters.
The college launched the two-year ornamental horticulture program in 1980 and its students have since taken jobs in industries like landscape architecture, turf management and floral design. The program also puts on the college’s annual Spring Garden and Butterfly Festival.
“Ornamental Horticulture has a storied past at our college and it is long overdue for a renovation. With the modernizing of facilities and the new greenhouses in particular, students have a lot to be excited about,” said college President Julianna Barnes.
The project includes gutting and renovating Building M to accommodate a design lab, a wet lab and lab prep room on one end and a classroom on the other. Two new greenhouses will replace an aging, smaller one that has poor sun orientation.
A separate retail shop will be added and equipped with a cooler large enough to store flowers and delicate arrangements created in the floral design program.
Renovating the aging facility will allow major upgrades to the horticulture program, according to program coordinator Leah Rottke.
“We are a career technical education discipline and we strive to help students get jobs, so it is very important that we are able to replicate what’s currently used in industry,” Rottke said.
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