Groundbreaking set for SAU agriculture center | News
Southern Arkansas University officials will break ground for the new Agriculture Center at 11:30 a.m. on Thursday, March 8th. The ceremony will take place at the construction site just north of the University Science Center.
SAU President David Rankin says the Agriculture Center is a two story academic building designed to accommodate the ever-increasing high-tech needs of the agricultural industry. The building is modeled after the University Science Center in many ways, but it is unique unto itself as it is driven by specific programming needs. The facility will house a large lecture hall, classrooms, laboratories, faculty offices, and a large pavilion.
The total heated space of the Agriculture Center will be 30,557 square feet – about half the size of the Science Center – and the pavilion will add another 60’ x 75’ area onto the rear of the building. “The addition of this wonderful facility will allow the department to strengthen and intensify our agriculture programs,” says Chair of the SAU Department of Agriculture Jeffry Miller. “For years our agricultural industries have provided a bountiful supply of food and fiber for this nation and for export. Our graduates have played very important roles in providing this abundance, and to continue this trend we must teach students the methods of increasing agricultural yields while limiting the footprint of agriculture on our environment. Our new Agriculture Center will provide us the infrastructure to accomplish these tasks.”
Rankin says agriculture courses are currently taught in Childs Hall, a World War II-era building that was once a barn and a dormitory before being converted into classroom space. The building will remain a part of the campus, likely being remodeled for other purposes in the future.“Agriculture is at the core of our roots at Southern Arkansas University, and this new Agriculture Center will be one of our greatest investments in agriculture education since our founding in 1909,” says Rankin. “We are excited about the possibilities that a facility like this can bring and are thrilled to finally see this dream become a reality.”
Construction of the Agriculture Center is part of the University’s Blue and Gold Vision master plan. The plan was implemented in 2004 and began with the construction of the Donald W. Reynolds Campus and Community Center. To date, more than $73 million in new construction and renovations have taken place on the SAU campus as part of the Blue and Gold Vision.
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