MODESTO -- The agriculture department at Modesto Junior College invites the public to come out today to see its new digs.
The 60th annual open house will be the first at the new ag complex on the west campus. The anniversary also prompted the organizers to honor all of the department's retired tenured instructors, dating to 1923.
The event will start at 4 p.m. with tours and student displays and continue into the evening with a $10 barbecued chicken dinner and the program.
The $21 million complex was funded by Measure E of 2004, which raised property taxes in the Yosemite Community College District to pay for numerous projects at MJC and Columbia College.
The ag open house, held for 59 years on the east campus, has now gone west.
"It's kind of a big 'thank you' to our community for supporting the bond and for them to see the results of what they have allowed us to do," said Mark Anglin, dean of agriculture and environmental sciences.
Backers said the complex will help sustain an ag department that is well-regarded nationwide and a key part of the farm-based economy of Stanislaus and nearby counties.
The centerpiece is the Agriculture Center for Education Pavilion, that big building just west of Highway 99. Most of its 74,410 square feet is a sandy surface for livestock shows and other events. The $15.9 million building has two classrooms, a laboratory and a kitchen.
New space for animals, people
Measure E also provided $2.1 million for new quarters for dairy cattle, beef cattle and sheep. And it had $3.15 million to build housing for 28 student interns who help care for these and other animals.
The tour will take in these projects, as well as the poultry and swine areas.
The displays will show what students are learning about crops, animals, farm equipment, marketing and many other aspects of producing food.
Anglin said 34 past instructors will be honored. About 20 plan to attend or will be represented by family members, he said.
Bee staff writer John Holland can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (209) 578-2385.
MJC AG OPEN HOUSE
WHEN: 4 to 8 p.m. today. Tours and displays run from 4 to 6:30. Dinner is from 5 to 6:30. Program honoring past instructors and others is at 6:30. Displays reopen after program and stay open until 8.
WHERE: Agriculture complex on the Modesto Junior College West Campus, near the northwest corner of the Briggsmore-Carpenter interchange on Highway 99
COST: Dinner is $10; other activities are free.
MORE INFORMATION: (209) 575-6200