The terms of a $20 million donation given to Cal Poly last year by former Apple executive Peter Oppenheimer and his wife, Mary Beth, were made public this week at The Tribune’s request.
The Peter and Mary Beth Oppenheimer Fund, announced in November 2014, will substantially upgrade the campus’ agricultural facilities as the university moves forward with its Master Plan update. It’s the largest single donation in Cal Poly’s history.
The agreement between Cal Poly and the Oppenheimers details spending on new facilities including a $10 million agriculture event center and a $3.5 million equestrian pavilion at the north end of campus – as well as several other major infrastructure upgrades.
“My wife and I were students in the agriculture program here 30 years ago and my son is a mechanical engineering major at Cal Poly,” Peter Oppenheimer told The Tribune on Wednesday. “We want to make Cal Poly an even better experience for future students, and we had great experiences here.”
Before making the donation, Oppenheimer said, he met with College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences Dean Andy Thulin and Animal Science Department Head Jaymie Noland to identify needs.
The agreement includes a contingency that the new Equestrian Pavilion, Event Center, and Animal Health Center will replace the current Beef Unit, Herdsman Hall (an aging on-campus housing unit) and Horticulture Unit facilities.
But the older structures won’t be torn down until the campus builds new facilities or relocates those building uses to sites elsewhere on campus, under the arrangement.
“It was important to us that none of the facilities would be removed until the new ones were in place or they could find a new home,” Oppenheimer said.
The agreement stipulates that about half of the gift, $10 million, will be spent on the Peter and Mary Beth Oppenheimer Agricultural Events Center, a 70,000-square-foot facility with seating for 2,500.
The $3.5 million Peter and Mary Beth Oppenheimer Equestrian Pavilion would provide 60,000-square foot arenas where the horticulture unit is now located.
An existing facility at the corner of Highland and Mt. Bishop would be remodeled and expanded into a $1 million Peter and Mary Beth Oppenheimer Farm Store to sell products produced on campus.
The agreement also stipulates spending $5 million on the Animal Production Units:
- $2 million to double the size of the Beef Cattle Evaluation Center feedlot.
- $1 million to renovate the Swine Center.
- $750,000 to upgrade several production barns in the Poultry Center to improve bird safety and comfort.
- $500,000 to construct silage bunkers for fermentation research of store by-products at the Animal Nutrition Center.
- $300,000 for remodeling the Equine Center.
- $200,000 for staffing a manager of the Meat Processing Center.
- $150,000 for 24-hour video surveillance capabilities of the animals.
- $100,000 for Parker Barn fencing and equipment.
The agreement also sets aside $300,000 for building removal and $200,000 for educational programming.
The Oppenheimers amended the agreement in March to give another $175,000 for Equine Unit equipment – including a new truck, tractor, rake and trailers.
The university agreed to allow the Oppenheimers to participate in design and construction of the new buildings and “consider donor’s ideas and recommendations and implement them wherever feasible.”
The Oppenheimers also will be able to review bid packages and final awards made to contractors, equipment providers and other vendors to ensure efficient and effective spending.