Raj Kahlon, Assemblyman Gray establish new agriculture complex at Merced College

For immediate release:
  • Mike Dunbar
  • Media Advisor
  • (209) 404-5569

(Sacramento) – Merced College celebrated its new Raj Kahlon Agriculture and Industrial Technology Complex with a ribbon-cutting on Sept. 15.

The complex was built thanks to the donations of local farmer and businessman Raj Kahlon and the legislative efforts of California State Assemblymember Adam C. Gray, D-Merced.

“Adam Gray has been a staunch advocate for Merced College and the local agriculture industry for many years,” said Merced College President Chris Vitelli. “His hard work and dedication helped secure essential funding for the construction of this building, which will enable us to educate new generations of workers and leaders in our region.”

College officials said the $25 million complex will be home to many academic programs with faculty members slated to move into the facility this semester. Classes in Agriculture Business, Animal Science, Computer Technology, Computer Technology and Information Systems, Crop Science, Electricity and Electronics, HVAC Technology, Industrial Technology, and Environmental Horticulture will be conducted in the new complex.

“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,” said Kahlon. “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.”

To help this along, Kahlon committed $5 million to support programs and instruction that will be centered in the complex. College officials said it was the single largest donation in the institution’s 60-year history.

“We are so excited to get started with the education and training of future agriculturalists and industrial technicians that will really make an impact on this community and the families that they serve,” said Vitelli. “Because we’re in the breadbasket of the world, they’re going to make an impact in the world that we all feed.”

The 29,000 square-foot complex includes a 7,500 square-foot courtyard which will accommodate outdoor events. Pens are in place to accommodate both small and large livestock which will accommodate classroom demonstrations. It is the first new structure to be built at the MC campus in a decade.

The new complex also includes the Adam Gray Conference Room in the building’s distinctive “silo,” which features a 16-foot long “live edge” table with a custom base frame designed by the MC welding program. There is also an administrative area with office spaces, a staff lounge, waiting room, and a sunroom which will allow plant science experiments.

“This is how we create better jobs, better lives and better opportunities for the students of Merced College and the people of the Valley,” said Gray. “To build this took dedication, determination and sacrifice by people like Raj, President Vitelli and many others. That’s what turned this complex into reality.”

Besides Gray, Kahlon and Vitelli, other dignitaries to speak at the event included California Attorney General Rob Bonta, and Consul General of India, Dr. T.V. Nagendra Prasad. Video messages also were presented from Rep. Jim Costa, and H.E. Taranjit Singh Sandhu, ambassador of India to the U.S.