On Aug. 22, Cuyamaca College held a groundbreaking for a $16.7 million project that will renovate indoor and outdoor classrooms and facilities, and add new greenhouses for the school’s signature Ornamental Horticulture program.
“This Proposition V-funded project is a milestone for the campus because of the significance of the program and its link to the history of Cuyamaca College,” President Julianna Barnes said in reference to the $398 million construction bond measure passed by East County voters in 2012 to improve and add facilities at Cuyamaca and Grossmont colleges. “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.”
As one of the original programs started at Cuyamaca College in 1980, Ornamental Horticulture is a cornerstone program that’s produced thousands of graduates who have gone on to jobs such as landscape architects, turf managers, and even a host of TV landscaping shows – Sara Bendrick of two TV DIY Network series, “I Hate my Yard” and “Lawn & Order.”
The two-year program offers nine degrees and certificates in arboriculture, floral design, golf course and sports turf management; irrigation technology; landscape design; landscape technology; nursery technology; sustainable urban landscapes; and basic ornamental horticulture.
With the renovation slated for completion in fall 2020, the program’s students will see updated facilities, well-equipped greenhouses, an outdoor instructional area, expanded retail space and much-needed storage space. About 10,000 square feet of usable space will be added with the renovation.
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. 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 mean major upgrades to the program, program coordinator Leah Rottke said.
“The main advantage of the renovation is that we will be able to provide students an experience that closely reflects the industry,” Rottke said.