HOUSTON – Houston Community College leaders helped break ground on the college's $30 million culinary arts building Tuesday.
The facility is being built at HCC's Central Campus in Midtown Houston and will include a cooking and baking lab, a dining room, a bar, a dish room, computer labs, classrooms, a student lounge, locker rooms, offices, conference rooms and a reception area.
Houston Community College Chancellor Cesar Maldonado, HCC trustees Carolyn Evans-Shabazz and Adriana Tamez, award-winning chef and HCC alumnus Hugo Ortega were all there for the groundbreaking ceremony with shovels in their hands.
"Many of the chefs in Houston's more than 10,000 restaurants are graduates of HCC's culinary arts program," said Maldonado. "We are training the workforce that has put Houston on the map as a destination for foodies. I am certain there's another Hugo Ortega out there and HCC is committed to providing a state-of-the-art facility at which they are able to learn and hone their craft."
The two-story, 38,000-square-foot building is expected to be completed in about two years.
The new facility was part of the $425 million Groundbreaker Bond Program approved by Houston voters in 2012.
"The culinary arts program is one of our most popular programs," said HCC board Chair Carolyn Evans-Shabazz. "With this new center and its modern equipment, an already outstanding program will be even better for the students pursuing degrees there."
"When this building is finished, the culinary arts program will be returning home to our Central Campus where the program started more than 35 years ago," said Tamez, whose District III includes the new building. "HCC continues to improve to meet the demands of a 21st-Century workforce. As we grow, we are taking extra care to be good stewards of the taxpayer dollars entrusted to us."