As part of the school’s stated vision to “make Arkansas a culinary destination,” Pulaski Technical College Arkansas Culinary School Director of Programs Todd Gold announced plans on Monday for a new, $12.5 – 15 million facility for the program, estimated to be completed in about two years.
The announcement was made at an orientation for students of the culinary program, which included an introduction to the program’s staff and a review of uniform and other policies. (Students: Watch for a separate post detailing the orientation.)
The program is currently at full capacity, with 350 students currently attending hands-on classes and about 150 taking general education classes, waiting for the culinary classes to become available. Culinary classes are currently taught at Pulaski Tech’s north and south campuses, although headquartered at the latter.
Gold said the new facility will include teaching kitchens specifically designed for stocks, soups and sauces; baking; and meat and seafood (butchery). The meat and seafood kitchen will be held at 40 degrees, “like a huge walk-in [refrigerator],” Gold said, so carcasses may be safely held and broken down from a larger size.
A new wine studies center will include stadium seating and special features at each seat to assist the learner in viewing and evaluating different types of wine.
All details about the new facility are still considered preliminary, since the bond issue to pay for the project won’t happen until next month. But plans have been swift for months now, with the process to choose an architect currently underway.
“We received 21 proposals from architects,” Gold said, “and they will be reviewed by a committee to choose the top four. These will do oral presentations, and we should be able to select one by mid-October.”
The new facility is planned to be about 40,000 square feet and two stories tall, and will be located on the north side of the parking lot for the current Pulaski Tech South building on Interstate 30, near Bryant. The school’s truck driving education program will be moved from this space to another location.
“This will be state-of-the-art,” Gold said. “I would put it up against any other culinary education facility.”