The Cal Poly College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences is $1.5 million closer to having the proposed Agriculture Technology Center built thanks to the Oreggia Family Foundation.

The donation was made to help start the construction of the center, which will provide faculty and students additional lab space to conduct applied research and work on senior projects.

“It’s a major significant donation towards our department,” said David Wehner, dean for the College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences. “The donation shows the continuing support from the Oreggia Family Foundation.”

The Oreggia Family Foundation was founded by Salinas grower Arden Oreggia and his sister, Sabina. After a student-led tour through the Cal Poly creamery during the Open House 2005, Arden Oreggia became so impressed with the department that he started the foundation to help support the development of agricultural facilities and programs. Arden Oreggia passed away in August 2005.

“Mr. Oreggia felt agriculture was very important nationally and of course locally,” Oreggia Family Foundation trustee Robert Taylor said. “Before he died he had decided we wanted to support Cal Poly’s department, so we are doing are best to honor that.”

To date, the foundation has donated a total of $2.5 million to the agriculture program. It is estimated that the new center will cost $15 million to $20 million dollars to complete and Cal Poly will need to raise nearly all the money from private funding.

“State money will only build facilities used for instructional purposes, not research,” Wehner said.

The new center is planned to be built between the Erhart Agricultural building and the Agricultural Engineering building. Wehner is hoping the money will be raised in two to three years so construction can then begin.

The College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences grants 650 baccalaureate degrees each year, almost half of all baccalaureate degrees offered in the state. It is the fourth biggest agriculture program in the United States, with more than 3,500 students.

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