USU’s new Agricultural Sciences Building now ready to use

Utah State University President Stan Albrecht wore his cowboy boots proudly at the Agricultural Sciences Building ribbon cutting ceremony Wednesday, 665 days after the groundbreaking ceremony.”To locate this building on the historic Quad, symbolically it really represents the very best, the very most important of what this university stands for,” Albrecht said.In 2004, USU began thinking of renovating the E. G. Peterson Agricultural Science Building, originally built in the 1950s. It was suggested that a new building would be an easier task than bringing up the old building to current construction codes. Noelle Cockette, dean and vice president of Agriculture and Extension, said it only took her “one nanosecond” to agree to the new building. Several building plans and 8 years, the 125,000-square-foot building is ready to be used.The $43.1 million building was funded through the Utah State Legislature and sits on the Quad. It will be used by the Animal, Dairy and Veterinary Sciences Department; Plants, Soils and Climate Department; Applied Economics Department and the Journalism and Communications Department. Guests packed the lobby and even the staircase for the ribbon cutting February 29, where Albrecht, Cockett and Utah Commissioner of Agriculture Leonard Blackham each expressed their excitement.Blackham said 19 percent of jobs in the nation are tied to agriculture agriculture.”Who do we need in those jobs? We need the most talented, we need the smartest students, and they’re setting the stage to attract those students here,” Blackham said. The building has classrooms, computer labs, student meeting rooms, faculty and staff office space, an auditorium and a lot of windows. Over one of the building’s open staircases, a glass ceiling lets in a flood of natural light that permeates the structure. Many rooms have a full wall of windows with a view of the campus, including Cockett’s office on the fourth floor.”I’ll just plan that throughout the days to sit at my desk doing my work, and the public, visitors, alumni and students can just come in to my office and enjoy the view,” Cockett said. “So this is an open invitation to all of you to come by and see my space.”The building also houses the Cafe on the Quad which will sell an exclusive new flavor of Aggie Ice Cream called Sunshine and Chocolate, a lemon ice cream with chocolate chips. Guests at the ribbon cutting ceremony were given samples of the new flavor. The cafe will open mid-March. The new building wasn’t just designed to look pretty. It follows Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) guidelines. Builders used green materials whenever they could, and other measures – like solar panels on the south side of the building and a sensor lighting system – make it energy efficient. Building designers tried to incorporate nature as much as possible into the four-floor design, using a lot of bamboo wood and limestone.Benches, plants and sidewalks spot the plaza just outside the building. The plaza is now home to a memorial honoring students involved in a 2005 van accident. “As I walk past that beautiful memorial, I’m reminded that this will now become a place for quiet reflection for generations of students, faculty and friends of our university,” Albrecht said. – rachel@cvdaily.com

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