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Bakersfield College unveils new STEM building, thanks to 2016 Measure J bond

New STEM building on Bakersfield College campus.
Posted at 5:23 PM, Sep 07, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-07 21:17:10-04

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — In 2016, Bakersfield voters passed Measure J, a bond measure intended to provide campus improvements for Bakersfield College. On Wednesday, September 7th, unveiled the new STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) classroom building.

This is the third new building erected on the BC campus. Measure J funds have already funded the construction of a new campus center and administrative building.

The new science building stands three stories high and contains more than 70,000 square feet of study spaces, housing classrooms and lab space for geology, microbiology, and robotics instruction. The building also has science, engineering, and math “Easter eggs” hidden throughout the structure, such as a tree sculpture based on a math sequence, a binary peg board with code, and a special pattern of windows reflecting the study of life.

Ribbon cutting at the new STEM building at Bakersfield College
Ribbon cutting at the STEM building at Bakersfield College. The building opened on September 7, 2022

According to Dr. Sonya Christian, Chancellor of the Kern Community College District, the building was made to reflect the history of Kern County STEM programs.

“We are bringing students from Arvin and Lamont, from Delano, Shafter, McFarland, to expand science education,” said Christian. “So this space is really the culmination of the growth we’ve been seeing in our science programs.”

The specific programs that will benefit from this new building include biology, chemistry, physics, geology, and geography. The building is also a space for energy and sustainability education and research, something Bakersfield College wants to prioritize.

“We’re going big into energy,” said Christian. “Energy is a huge priority on the national front, on the state front and also the local front. Bakersfield College and the Kern Community College District is going to be on the forefront in the 21st century science; technology and engineering, and work and workforce development.”

Bakersfield College Student Government Association President Shehrazad “Raz” Barraj is inspired for the future at the presence of new technological educational tools on campus.

“It is innovative, collaborative, creative, inspirational, and focused on the latest technology in science, which we all know will help us create healthy futures that we all aim for,” said Barraj.

Bakersfield College graduate Coleton Kerley is impressed with the opportunity to acquire high-end science skills at a place like BC.

“We have a lot of industries, mainly oil, and of course in Kern County, and students that come here can do the courses, which is a lot more affordable, transfer out to the other engineering schools, and then they could come back to Bakersfield and apply their knowledge,” said Kerley.

$65 million dollars from the Measure J bond helped build the new building, and more campus improvement projects are planned for 2023, including a new welcome center, athletics complex, and agriculture pavilion.