The construction of two new state-of-the-art educational laboratories is near completion at the Antelope Valley College in Los Angeles County, CA. Completion of the refrigeration and HVAC labs, which will open inside the newly constructed Technical Education Building on campus, is expected early in 2003. The first students are scheduled to attend classes in the fall of 2003.

Planning for construction of the new labs began 12 years ago in response to a growing demand in the area for more advanced HVAC/R training. Loren “Shorty” Shuck, CMS, and Refrigeration Service Engineers Society (RSES) educational and examining board chairman, served on a committee at the college that managed campus facilities development. Fellow RSES member, Joseph Owens, CM, Secretary of the Antelope Valley Chapter of RSES, who is also an instructor at the college, eventually took over Shuck’s role on the committee.

“It took years to move this project to the top of the funding priority list, but it finally happened,” Shuck said. He helped push funding for the project for years. An earthquake in 1994 delayed funding for the project as money was re-routed to other areas of need. “I am very happy these labs are finally near completion because it is the only educational facility within a 50-mile radius with an HVAC/R program. The new labs more than triple the size of the area that was dedicated to HVAC/R in the old building. This will allow the program to grow a great deal,” Shuck said.

The labs will offer increased hands-on training with real-world equipment. The refrigeration lab will contain a variety of light commercial ice-making equipment and light commercial refrigeration equipment. The HVAC lab will contain four complete residential split systems that include whole-house humidifiers, electronic air cleaners and solid-state digital controls. Both labs will have brazing/soldering stations and a mutual refrigerant handling and recovery station.