On Dec. 1, College of the Canyons held a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Don Takeda Science Center, which is named in honor of longtime biology instructor Don Takeda, who retired in 2017.
Located at the Canyon Country campus, the 55,000-square-foot building is primarily devoted to the physical and biological sciences and serves as a focal point for students and first-time visitors.
“The Science Center is the most significant change to the Canyon Country campus since it opened 14 years ago,” said Chancellor Dr. Dianne G. Van Hook. “It will be the largest building built on the campus to date. It effectively doubles the available classroom and lab space that was available on the Canyon Country campus and it will offer more instructional space for science curriculum that we currently have at the Valencia campus in three science buildings.”
Takeda was recognized in person by the Santa Clarita Community College District with a resolution for his significant contributions to the biological sciences during his 46-year teaching career at COC, which began on Jan. 1, 1972.
“Don’s career is truly remarkable, and he has touched thousands of lives as he inspired not only his students, but all of us at College of the Canyons who were lucky enough to count him as a colleague and as a friend,” said Dr. Van Hook.
Alongside Jim Boykin, COC’s first biology instructor, Takeda helped build the college’s biology department. As lead faculty/chair of the college’s biology department for over 25 years, Takeda played a pivotal role in upgrading molecular-cellular biology and organismal biology courses.
He also provided oversight for a major remodel of biology classrooms and laboratories in the Boykin Building, and was instrumental in developing the design of Aliso Hall and Aliso Lab, which opened at the Valencia campus in 2007.
“I am just incredibly honored that this has happened,” said Takeda, who resides in Canyon Country. “It is a testament to the leadership of this district to honor faculty members. When I get this kind of tribute it is reflective of all the other faculty members, past to the present, because that is what makes the institution so great. This institution is a gem in the Santa Clarita Valley.”
Among the more than 100 attendees were members of the Santa Clarita Community College District Board of Trustees (BOT) as well as COC staff, administrators, and students. Also in attendance was former BOT member Bruce Fortine, who hired Takeda in 1972.
Takeda also received recognition from Assemblymember Suzette Martinez Valladares (R-Santa Clarita) and representatives from the offices of State Sen. Scott Wilk (R-Santa Clarita), U.S. Rep. Mike Garcia (R-Santa Clarita) and Los Angeles County Supervisor Kathryn Barger (5th District).
The ribbon-cutting ceremony ended with a guided tour of the new building, which houses eight lecture classrooms, eight science labs, three computer labs, nine group study/conference rooms, as well as 24 faculty and staff office stations.
The building is expected to help alleviate the demand for health and science courses, such as prerequisite classes for the college’s nursing program, which are often wait-listed.
“On behalf of the Canyon Country campus faculty, staff, and students, we are so excited about the Takeda Science Center and what it means to the campus and expanding access,” said Dr. Ryan Theule, vice president of the Canyon Country campus. “This is not just any new facility, but a complex of long-awaited science laboratory spaces, instructional service rooms, faculty offices, lecture halls, computer labs, and student study spaces. Ultimately, it is a place for students to learn and engage in a beautiful building with amazing instructional resources. We are thankful to have this amazing new facility at the Canyon Country campus.”
Construction of the Don Takeda Science Center was funded by Measure E, the $230 million bond measure that was approved by local voters in June 2016.