New Rose Float Lab and Design Complex construction to begin soon

Construction of the new Rose Float Lab and Design Complex will finally begin this September after a six-month delay.

According to Krista Spangler, director of development for the Division of Student Affairs, “The construction for the Rose Float Lab has been confirmed at $4.3 million, through the bidding process by construction contractor, Woodcliff Corporation.”

The groundbreaking ceremony for the Rose Float Lab and Design Complex was celebrated Nov. 21, 2018 with construction expected to start in the early months of 2019. However, construction was delayed so that the scope of the entire building could be increased, which took longer than anticipated.

The construction of the new lab was first announced in October 2017, but the planning of the new lab has been in the works for 12 years, since 2007.

It will take about 14 months for construction workers to complete the new Rose Float Lab and Design Complex, according to Heather Hanson, interim director of the Rose Float. 

According to Spangler, “Construction will take place from September 2019 to October 2020, with the anticipated Rose Float Lab grand opening to happen in early 2021.” 

Construction on the Rose Float Lab and Design Complex will begin this month and is expected to officially open early January 2021.
(Courtesy of Richard Burrow)

The blue construction fences are already set up around the area near Kellogg Drive, where construction is soon set to begin.

The original budget goal released in October 2017 for the float was $3.7 million, and the funding has been acquired mainly through private donations. 

Alumnus Butch Lindley and his wife, Vivien Lindley, gave a $1 million donation for the construction of the new lab. Due to this donation, the new lab will honor alumni Don Miller and Ron Simmons, who both contributed heavily in the early years of the Rose Float program by pushing the program forward and volunteering on the float. 

The current structure that the Rose Float team works out of is an outdoor building, Building 64, located near Citrus Lane, which only has partial protection from the outside elements. 

The current Rose Float Lab and Design Complex was built more than 30 years ago when Miller lead the construction of the first float 90 days before the Pasadena Rose Parade in 1949.

“One of the biggest improvements is that it’s entirely indoors, with this a majority of our workspace is outdoors,” said Christopher Maciosek, a sixth-year mechanical engineering student. 

“You see here we only have two walls, (so) a lot of wind can go through (because) we’re right by a busy dirt road, which means that all the dust that cars kick up just lays on all the machinery, the float, everything that we have here.” 

The building being completely indoors will also save the Rose Float team an extra hour because they won’t have to move heavy machinery outside in the beginning of their working day and back inside at the end of the day. It will also protect the float and machinery from elements such as dust and rain — conditions which have never stopped the Rose Float team but have often delayed or slowed down productivity. 

The Rose Float Team uses the outdoor workshop by the I-10 freeway to build rose floats. This adds an extra hour for the team to shelter machinery from debris and dust from passing cars.
(Zuvanny Macias | The Poly Post)

There will also be ventilation and heating in the new lab but no air conditioner.  

The new lab will be across from the Agricultural Engineering building, Building 45, less than 200 yards away from the current lab.

The lab will also be more visible to students as it will be across from Kellogg Drive and near the Interstate 10 freeway. 

The plans for the lab were increased so instead of 5,700 square feet, the lab will now measure 7,200 square feet. 

According to the Cal Poly Pomona website, the new lab will contain a hydraulic shop, electronic shop, two restrooms and an outdoor picnic and gathering area. Further expansion of the project is still possible. 

Currently the Rose Float Team is working on its entry for the 2020 Pasadena Rose Tournament “Aquatic Aspirations.” 

If interested in volunteering for the Rose Float program, visit or stop by the Rose Float office in the University Plaza, Building 26A.  

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