VILLA LA PAZ CONFERENCE & EDUCATION CENTER

Tehachapi, California

On the north grounds of the 187-acre National Chavez Center, near Tehachapi, California,  stands the renovated 17,000 square foot Villa La Paz Conference & Education Center. The building is an historic structure that remained un-used and neglected for decades.  Cesar Chavez’s dream of an educational center to train future generations of dedicated activists became one step closer to reality with the grand opening in 2010 of this sprawling world-class conference and educational center in the restored mission-style structures where he held community gatherings and sessions with movement leaders and staff.

The conference center is where Cesar presided over meetings with the United Farm Workers’ executive board, hosted hundreds of field and boycott organizers and other union staff, and brought farm worker leaders from their ranches together for planning or training. During the late 1970s, he used the facilities to operate schools that trained professional UFW negotiators, organizers and contract administers. The large halls on the east and west sides of the complex housed a Montessori school and numerous weddings and other special gatherings.

The complex was originally built as a county-run tuberculosis sanitarium in 1929.

After many community meetings with the area residents and community leaders the Architect and Landscape Architect were able to define a program for restoration.  Interior spaces were identified with conference uses and building structure was assessed for upgrades and compliance with current codes.  The building was restored to its original beauty and re-purposed as a conference and educational center.  The new center has the capacity to host corporate and organizational conferences and retreats, educational seminars, exhibits, weddings, receptions and other special events. Also features kitchen and café facilities offering catering and beverage services, event planning, a business office and Wi-Fi connectivity.