A festive groundbreaking ceremony for Phase 1 of the new Mendocino College Center in Lakeport was held on Thursday, October 20, under bright sunshine. The event was attended by over 120 people, including community members, college staff and administrators, the architects and contractor.

The event started with words by college president Kathy Lehner and board of trustees chair Joel Clark thanking the community for their support of Bond Measure W, which made this project possible. Mark Rawitsch, the Lake Center Dean of Instruction, spoke about how this facility will enhance the District’s ability to better serve the Lake County students. Director of Facilities Mike Adams thanked the stakeholders and design team, and was given a tomato (see photo) for planting on the site, a long tradition signifying planting the seeds for growth.

Project Architect Nate Bisbee of TLCD Architecture talked about how this project was designed to take advantage of the beautiful site and views, and Wright Contracting president Mark Davis spoke about their excitement of working on this project, and their long relationship with Mendocino College, going back to the original campus construction in Ukiah. Ruzicka Associates graciously hosted a reception after the ceremony at their offices just north of the site. The ceremony also included the mandatory photos of the Board of Trustees with the golden shovels.

The new Lake Center, located on a 30-acre site on Parallel Drive, will include 15,000 square feet of classrooms, computer, art, and science labs, administration and student support spaces, and a round classroom/community room. The facility replaces the existing center, which is located in leased office space one mile to the north. The new facility is scheduled to be completed by the Spring semester of 2013.