Clark College at Boschma Farms

Foundation CEO Calen Ouellette, President Dr. Karin Edwards, and Board Chair Paul Speer at the First Dig on the site of Clark College at Boschma Farms.

In a grassy field west of Ridgefield Junction, Clark College officials gathered at the site of the future Clark College at Boschma Farms campus to commemorate the project’s “first dig” on June 12.

Clark College at Boschma Farms will be similar to the college’s other auxiliary campuses at Washington State University Vancouver and Columbia Tech Center. The first dig kicked off the construction of the site’s first building, the Advanced Manufacturing Center. The 48,000 square-foot building is projected to be ready for classes beginning Fall term 2025.

Clark College President Dr. Karin Edwards was joined by Clark College Foundation CEO Calen Ouellette; Board of Trustees Chair Paul Speer and Vice Chair Cristhian Canseco Juarez; the college’s Vice President Administrative Services Sabra Sand, Vice President of Information Technology Sudha Frederick, Interim Vice President of Instruction Jim Wilkins-Luton and others.

Representatives from Mortenson Construction and Henneberry Eddy Architects, the companies selected for Progressive Design-Build services on the first building, also participated.

The group gathered in front of an enormous John Deere Excavator that already had made the first dig and had created a mound of dirt.

“We’re pleased to be here today for the first dig,” said Dr. Edwards. “This land has been blessed by the Cowlitz. During the last three years, there have been many conversations, a culmination of ideas flowing back and forth to get us here today.”

She looked around and said, “What you’re going to see in two years will be absolutely spectacular.”

Board of Trustees Chair Paul Speer said, “This is not just a building. It’s the seeds of our future. Generations will come here who we will never see.”

Carolyn Sizemore, market executive at Mortenson, invited everyone to grab a tiny gold shovel and plant a succulent with soil from the first dig. Next there was a golden shovel photo opportunity.

Finally, Dr. Edwards climbed into the cab of an enormous John Deere excavator, sat in the driver’s seat and looked around.

This photo sent to Clark College Wednesday, June 14 signifies the beginning of construction.

A copse of deciduous trees stood between the site and the Interstate 5, a half-mile to the west. To the east were rolling hills of farmland. To the south and west, new housing developments dotted the landscape. High above the field two hawks soared in search of dinner. The scene is bucolic.

But now there is work to do. White and pink flags on wooden stakes flapped in the breeze. The enormous excavator and other construction equipment—a bulldozer, a track loader, a mini excavator, and an off-loader—were ready to go to work.

In only two short years, Clark College students will gather here to pursue their dreams.

About Clark College at Boschma Farms

Clark College at Boschma Farms will offer a variety of programs to serve the community and equip students to complete a program at Clark College and be workforce ready. Eventually, the campus is expected to include classrooms, professional labs, offices, study areas, services and support spaces.

About the Boschma family

Hank and Bernice Boschma, originally from the Netherlands, settled in Ridgefield in 1965 where they purchased land to start a dairy farm. They took a citizenship course at Clark in preparation for the national exam. Later, their daughter Gerry attended Clark.

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Photo: Clark College/Jenny Shadley