UW College of Agriculture and Natural Resources Looks Toward Future
By Frank Galey, University of Agriculture and Natural Resources Dean
Thanks to Dennis Sun and the Roundup for the recent support for the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources’ facilities priorities at the University of Wyoming.
As many of you are aware, the University of Wyoming over the past 10 years has been fortunate to build or completely renovate nine major buildings, including Coe Library, the School of Energy Resources and the Visual Arts Building. These facilities are more than offices. They are crucial to our mission of conducting and delivering applied research in response to local and state needs and preparing youth for their chosen careers.
As many of you are aware, the repairs and redesign/rebuild of the BioSafety Level 3 (BSL3) laboratory to make it functional are already under discussion by the state and university. We are hopeful that this project will be underway by winter 2015. Bringing this facility online as a fully certified BSL3 Laboratory is critical for our ability to perform diagnostic and research work on diseases such as brucellosis, plague and tularemia.
Beyond that important service facility, we are working very hard now to address three significant facility needs. They are:
Rebuilding and modernizing the Laramie Research and Extension (R&E) Center;
Developing space to accommodate animal science and molecular biology faculty members and students; and
Modernization of the main “Ag C” building to provide for up-to-date classrooms, teaching laboratories and faculty research laboratories for our 1,083 students and 104 faculty members.
Three of our four statewide R&E centers operated by the Wyoming Agricultural Experiment Station have been upgraded or rebuilt in the last 15 years. Now, the Laramie R&E Center (LREC), the only center not yet renovated, is in dire need of modernization. The estimated cost of upgrading the LREC is approximately $7 million. Major projects include rebuilding the greenhouse complex, upgrades and improvements to our cattle handling and lambing facilities, providing improvements to the Cliff and Martha Hansen Livestock Teaching Arena, developing better accommodations for the rodeo team activities and building infrastructure at the McGuire Ranch site to facilitate high-altitude grazing research.
Another key piece of the LREC project would be to completely overhaul the research facility that was part of the USDA APHIS center in Laramie to help facilitate our research about diseases important to livestock and wildlife. This property was mothballed in the early 2000s when the USDA relocated the APHIS lab to Kansas.
Many of you are familiar with our three main campus facilities – the “old” College of Agriculture and Natural Resources building, the “new” addition and the Animal Science/Molecular Biology Building near War Memorial Stadium. Respectively, these buildings were commissioned in 1949, 1982 and 1986. None have undergone a major renovation.
Animal science and molecular biology are two of our most research-intensive departments. This building project is a priority because the college was forced to put two departments into space that was intended for one several years ago. The college’s ability to attract top-echelon faculty members and students in animal science and molecular biology depend, in part, on providing adequate space.
Expanding and upgrading the existing Animal Science/Molecular Biology Building is estimated to cost $25 million, which includes $2 million to renovate the meat lab. The proposed Science Initiative that was developed to be considered by the legislature would provide for a new building to house molecular biology in the first phase. The second phase would, in part, renovate the entire building to support the Department of animal science.
The final project is the main campus College of Agriculture Building “Ag C.” This building was commissioned in 1949, with an addition in 1986. It houses the majority of our classrooms, research labs, faculty and departmental offices and meeting spaces. A major upgrade and modernization is needed to accommodate increasing enrollments, as well as today’s technological and electrical needs.
Each project has been submitted to university administration for review and prioritization on the overall facilities priority list. This summer, the Wyoming Stock Growers Association, recognizing the important role agriculture plays in Wyoming’s economy and the college’s facility needs, passed a resolution supporting our efforts. This winter, I would like to encourage you to be supportive of these efforts.
We can begin by supporting the Science Initiative and by asking the legislature to prioritize the Animal Science building renovation in the second phase of the proposed initiative building. Next, your voice in support of modernizing our Laramie-based teaching and research facilities at the Laramie Research and Extension Center and “Ag C” will be critical in getting the UW Administration and the state legislature to consider their support.
Your neighbors, colleagues and elected officials can all help bring College of Agriculture and Natural Resource facilities into the 21st century with your support.