It’s an exciting time to be a future college student in the city of Tulare, as the new COS Tulare College Center is expected to open in Jan. 2013.
Located across the street from Mission Oak High School on Bardsley Avenue and Oakmore Street, the new college will be made up of 93,000 square feet of academic buildings, and will include a vocational education complex, library, cafeteria, parking lot, a 540-acre farm and many other agriculture related facilities.
Funded by Measure J, a $60 million bond approved by Tulare County voters in Nov. of 2008, the new campus will offer both general and vocational education to students, with certificates, degrees and the ability to transfer to a four-year university are all available.
In total, the Measure J project list includes five phases: phase one represents the construction of the main campus. Phase two will create a vocational education complex that offers training for high-demand jobs, such as welding and farm equipment repair, and phases 3-5 will build agricultural- related facilities.
Phase one, which calls for the erection of an instructional building, support services building, facilities module, the first building of the vocational complex, all the infrastructure for the campus and phase three have been under construction for several months now. While phase two has yet to receive the proper state funding necessary to build.
Phase three represents the building of a farm animal complex, which is being created with $14 million in state funding and $13 million in local money, and will serve students from both COS and Tulare Joint Union High School District when finished in Jan. 2013.
“I’m excited for our community,” said Kris Costa, Director of COS Agriculture Programs, about the new farm. “This farm has been in the making for over thirty years now, and the people and the taxpayers have been asking for it. So it’s just the realization of thirty years of hard
work that makes it so special.”
The 540-acre farm will be made up of an already existing dairy, open land for students to perform crop projects, and several barns. The farm will also consist of newly built classrooms and buildings to offer classes in agriculture mechanics, welding, and plant, equine, and dairy sciences. Areas for the COS equestrian team, sheep, swine and ornamental horticulture are also being constructed.
Included on the farm will be the fully state funded Tulare Ag Pavilion, which will be a stadium venue for events and competitions to be held for the county.
“The Pavilion will serve as a place where the community can have agrelated events, because it’s going to be a very large area … you’re going to have students practicing, showing lambs, pigs, cattle and much more,” said Fernando Fernandez, a tenured instructor and the Department Head of Ornamental Horticulture at COS.
The College of the Sequoias already has one farm within the city of Visalia, located on Walnut Avenue and Linwood Street, but because of the recent housing boom and the birth of El Diamante high school, the size of the farm has shrunk to a mere 11 acres. The current farm serves a dual purpose as it provides the campus for the Visalia Unified School District charter high school known as VTECH and also serves its agricultural purposes for COS
The reasoning for the development of the new Tulare farm is in large part due to the middle-of-town location of the already existing farm.
“The move to Tulare isn’t because of the small size of the facilities, the situation here is the encroachment of housing and commercial building,”
Once the Tulare farm is opened, students and instructors alike will get to experience the nicest facilities and technology society has to offer today, rather than the World War II-era buildings that are presently used by the Visalia farm.