LUCERNE VALLEY — Lucerne Valley’s future Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) laboratory will be named in honor of H.O. “Bud” Biggs, the late longtime plant manager of the Mitsubishi Cement Corporation in Lucerne Valley.
The five members of the Lucerne Valley Unified School District’s governing board on Thursday voted unanimously and enthusiastically to name the facility “The Bud Biggs STEM lab at Lucerne Valley Elementary School.” The board earlier in the meeting awarded the “Smart Labs” project to Creative Learning Systems LLC, which was the low bidder for the $173,149 project. All elementary school students will participate in the state-of-the-art facility with structured lessons for all grades.
Biggs, who passed away on November 17, 2017, was the singular choice for the lab’s name, according to school board members who remembered Biggs’ immense generosity and dedication to Lucerne Valley students and teachers. In 2007, Biggs helped found the Mitsubishi Cement Corporation Educational Foundation, which has contributed many thousands of dollars annually to the 5th grade Science Camp, senior scholarships and mini-grants given to students and educators. Funding for the foundation began with an initial contribution from Mitsubishi Cement and continues to grow each year through donations from the company, the local community, student-driven fundraising efforts, and participation in the annual “Ride in the Rocks” bike tour fundraising event.
Biggs began his career at Kaiser Cement in Cupertino in 1962, earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry in 1980 while working for the company, and in 1986 — after a brief period in Texas — was hired to be the production manager of Kaiser Cement’s Lucerne Valley plant. Soon after, he was promoted to plant manager, a role he maintained when Mitsubishi Cement acquired Kaiser Cement.
The STEM lab will provide a laboratory environment where Lucerne Valley elementary school students can conduct simulations and experiments in a controlled environment. That hands-on experience is expected to benefit the students in school and help with college, training and career choices.