In search of a bigger teaching kitchen for its expanding Culinary Arts program, and to lessen stress on the increasingly popular dining experience at Willow Ridge Golf Course, Iowa Central has leased a kitchen-ready space in downtown Fort Dodge on South 1st St.
The college had considered building on to the location at Willow Ridge, but opted for a less expensive option already containing many of the needed features.
``We just needed a bigger place,' Iowa Central Business Department Chair Neale Adams said. ``We have been utilizing Willow Ridge in the off hours, but the kitchen only fits seven students comfortably. This kitchen will fit 20 students.'
Expanded teaching kitchen at Iowa Central Community College.
Formerly the site of a vending company and owned by Clyde Knupp, the new Iowa Central kitchen was almost move-in ready.
``There were already large refrigeration units, freezers, sinks, and ventilations that we would have built if we had expanded at Willow Ridge,' Adams said.
``We'll add some things too, like more stove burners and hot tops. But there is a lot of storage and it already is pretty nice. We'll move our baking classes there and all of our freshman and sophomore food lab classes. It will also allow us to bring more of our lecture classes back to campus instead of using the dining room for class at Willow Ridge.'
Nothing in the management agreement between Willow Ridge owner Don Decker and Iowa Central for the usage of Willow Ridge has changed. ``All of our education experiences, our hands-on learning will still be at Willow Ridge, along with the learning kitchen and all of our events,' Adams said.
But with Willow Ridge needing more time to devote to special events and Iowa Central needing more room for its growing program, an additional kitchen was the perfect fit. ``Basically what we are doing is taking the strain of the classroom out of Willow Ridge which also provides some separation between the program and Willow Ridge.'