Local students looking for training and education in agriculture and industrial technology fields have long looked to Merced College to find the next step on their journey. Now they have a new, state-of-the-art facility in which to learn and grow.
The college held a ribbon cutting Sept. 15 to mark the substantial completion of the 29,000-square-foot Raj Kahlon Agriculture and Industrial Technology Complex, the first new building on campus in more than a decade.
The $25-million complex will house several of the college’s academic programs, allowing them to train even more students for well-paying, emerging, and high-demand jobs in agriculture, industrial technology, and other related workforce programs in the region. Faculty will begin to move into offices this semester, and classes will be held there later this fall and in the spring.
“Merced College has offered robust programs in agriculture and industrial technology fields for decades, and we’re proud to give those programs the home they deserve,” President Chris Vitelli said. “This beautiful new facility is an incredible addition to the Merced College main campus, but more importantly, it represents a remarkable investment in our students and in the future of our region.”
Among the dignitaries who attended the event were California Attorney General Rob Bonta, Assemblymember Adam Gray, and Dr. T.V. Nagendra Prasad, Consul General of India, and the program included recorded video messages from H.E. Taranjit Singh Sandhu, Ambassador of India to the United States, and Congressman Jim Costa. The building features a conference room named after Gray, a Merced College alumnus whose support helped secure state funding for the construction project.
The new facility will bring together faculty and staff in several academic programs: Agricultural Business, Animal Science, Computer Technology and Information Systems, Crop Science, Electricity/Electronics, Environmental Horticulture, HVAC Technology, and Industrial Technology.
Local farmer Raj Kahlon has committed $5 million to support the programs within the complex—the largest donation in Merced College history.
“For our agriculture industry to continue to thrive in an uncertain future, we need advanced technology, and we need students who are equipped to use that technology,” Kahlon said. “Merced College plays an integral role in educating and preparing our workforce, and this new building will help ensure a successful future for local students and our entire region.”
The new building is just one example of how Merced College is posed to lead the Central Valley ag industry into the future.