By Emily K. Cohen
Cal Poly Pomona’s Rose Float Lab is getting an upgrade as the university prepares to build a new state of the art facility to continue the legacy of the award-winning floats.
The Rose Float Lab and Design Complex is expected to break ground in 2018 and is projected to cost $3.7 million.
Private donors, many of whom are CPP alumni, have primarily contributed the funds for the new facility.
A fundraiser has been started to generate the remaining $800,000 needed to pay for the project.
This new facility will feature improvements to the previous workspace. Those improvements include protection from severe weather conditions, more efficient security, newer electronics and updated tools and workspaces to enhance productivity and safety.
“It will always be about optimizing our efforts,” said fifth-year mechanical engineering student and Rose Float Design Assistant Kevin Lin. “With this new building, anything is possible.”
Despite the 57 awards and 69 successful floats that CPP has worked on with Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, the creators have endured hardships along the way.
“The lab has not changed with the times,” said second-year business administration student and Rose Float Team President Jerica Hurtado.
Over the years, the team has battled extreme weather conditions, including floods, which have slowed and even delayed productivity.
The weather conditions, however, have never stopped the rose float team from sending a finished product down Colorado Boulevard.
“It gives you pride to know what you are capable of doing in such extreme weather conditions,” said Jon De Leon, a fifth-year mechanical engineering student and design chair.
In addition to weather protection, the current rose float team leaders are all in agreement that the most important upgrade to the new lab is the enclosed workspace, which will provide beneficial resources for all future floats.
The security will also be a big component in the new lab because it has been a recent problem.
“There have been break-ins in the past year. Pretty much some of everything has been stolen, including heavy items such as welding tables,” said Hurtado.
According to the current rose float team, these updates will likely decrease the amount of theft and increase the amount of productivity during their work sessions because their equipment will be better protected.
“This is exciting for the future of the program to show that we are growing as well,” said Hurtado. “It is making an impact bigger than we could do alone, and we are really excited.”
The new facility is designed to have longevity, so Cal Poly Universities can maintain the tradition of the rose float for years to come.
“I want to see how my contributions will help future Cal Poly generations,” said Lin.
“I want to come back when the new lab is built and tell the future generations how we did things back in 2017.”
The Cal Poly Universities’ float is the only student designed float entry of the Tournament of Roses Rose Parade.
“The fact that some people will drive more than 500 miles just to see this specific float that students put together on their own time, not professionally, is what draws me to work on it,” said Lin.
“It is so cool to see the float going down the parade in January, point to it, turn to the people next to you and say, ‘I built that.'”
Since it began in 1949, the Cal Poly Universities’ tradition of the rose float has become associated with innovation, creativity and the “learn by doing” philosophy.
The tradition will continue to leave a legacy for future CPP students to carry on.
“There will be limitless creativity for the future generations of Cal Poly,” said Lin.
Eviana Vergara / The Poly Post
The current Rose Float lab located off of Cirtus Lane
Eviana Vergara / The Poly Post
The Cal Poly Universities hold a 68 year legacy of rose float building
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