BINGHAMTON (WBNG) — The SUNY Broome Culinary Arts School is nearing the final stages of renovations to the building that will serve as a classroom and educational space for those looking for careers in food service.
Dr. Rey Wojdat, a professor at SUNY Broome for the last 27 years, estimates $20.5 million has gone into the state-of-the art school, including $2 million for kitchen appliances alone.
Wojdat is confident the new-look school could garner national attention.
“This really gives back to the community, and I like to say, and say it with bold confidence that I think this is the finest of its size culinary school facility in the United States, or anywhere,” Wojdat said.
Throughout the building, kitchens are filled with top-line equipment, classrooms with cameras for an in-depth look at cooking techniques and more to help create an innovative educational experience.
“We have the most advanced kitchens you can think of with some of the most advanced pieces of equipment you can think of,” Wojdat said. “The building is also smart, it’s computerized, it’s got cameras. I can record for Youtube, I can record for podcasts.”
The school is going where the old Binghamton Public Library stands. While the school will have a design of its own, Wojdat and construction crews chose to incorporate some elements of the library.
Brick structures have been kept in certain areas, and crews have touched up banisters, staircases and other sections.
“Now from a broken tooth to the gleaming diamond -studded tooth is what we are,” Wojdat said. “This is a uniquely historic landmark so that you want to preserve the architecture and keep the flavor and character of it.”
For Wojdat, the project has been a lifetime in the making.
“When I first came here I had always dreamed of doing a culinary arts programs somewhere. I’ve spent 5 years on this,” Wojdat said.
But when the doors open on January 27, it’ll be bigger than just food and drink.
“[I’ll] probably get teary-eyed. I can get a little jerky about it,” Wojdat said. “For me and a lot of people a the college, this is a legacy builder.”