Let It Simmer: Temporary Absence of Culinary Areas Due to Remodelling

Illustration of what the new building will look like Rendering of the outside of the renovated culinary space. The project is projected to be finished for Fall of 2016. ( Illustration courtesy of Yost Grube Hall Architecture)

Clark students with a sweet tooth should consider stocking up on desserts in the weeks remaining before Winter quarter.

A complete renovation of the bakery and culinary space in Gaiser Hall is set to begin by February. The culinary program, which has been on hiatus since Winter 2014, will be reinstated in Fall 2016, according to Tim Petta, director of Facilities.

The bakery has been operational but will be closed until the project is completed. The 20,000 square-foot space will seat 164 students, have an additional entrance outside and feature a more contemporary layout, with updated facilities and a food court, according to Alison Dolder, Culinary Arts instructor. Three kiosks will be added, each serving a different type of food, including international and regional cuisine, based on the culinary curriculum. The cashiering office will be moved to make room for the new bakery.

Mayra Werner, the project manager, said she believes the new space will be better for eating, studying and meeting with friends.

The renovation will cost $8.5 million, which the college hopes will be paid for by the Clark College Foundation, according to Director of Communications, Rhonda Morin. No financial commitments have been made yet.

Dolder said baking and culinary students have been using outdated equipment for some time. “We’ve been pouring money into this for years, just putting a band-aid on everything,” she said. “We have one mixer that is 60 years old.”

Despite budget cuts affecting other departments, Dolder said the culinary program deserves to be brought back. According to Dolder, there is a demand in the community for professional bakers.

Dolder said the culinary and baking programs are important because they allow students to get a private-school level of education at a lower cost. Five months at the most prestigious culinary schools can run as much as $38,000, while Clark offers its program for $6,700 for six quarters.

“There’s a long history and a real community importance placed on the culinary program,” said Tim Cook, vice president of Instruction. “It’s won awards. Historically, it’s been a really productive program for us.”

Design changes have slowed the process, putting the scheduled completion date in doubt. If the space is not completed on time, Dolder said the culinary program will be restarted at a temporary location for one quarter.

To keep construction noise to a minimum, temporary walls will be put up to isolate the space from the rest of Gaiser. “Any construction that is really loud, or more disruptive, we will try to do when students aren’t here,” Werner said.

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