FORT COLLINS, Colo. — The College of Agricultural Sciences began a new chapter on Thursday, Oct. 10 when it broke ground on what will be the new headquarters for the college. A project that’s years in the making, the undertaking will transform the Shepardson building into a state-of-the-art teaching and research facility over the next 18 months.
“The new facility represents the innovation that has transformed Colorado’s agriculture,” said CSU’s President Joyce McConnell at the event. “The old Shepardson building served as the heart of Agricultural Sciences for decades, and this renovation is symbolic. Inside there will be new technology and new space to help students learn and collaborate, and it will also provide us a facility that is a testament to Colorado’s steadfast support of CSU, and CSU’s steadfast support of Colorado. We are here to train students, conduct research that really matters, and help solve the challenges that stand in the way of prosperity and of health.”
Doubling the footprint
The cornerstone of the Shepardson building was laid in 1938, the beginning of a construction project that would amount to a 43,000-square-foot facility — an impressive building for its time. The renovation will not only gut the existing space, but nearly double its footprint to 80,000 square feet, which will cut into part of the Monfort Quad. Construction on the $43 million project is expected to be completed in the spring of 2021.
“It’s so exciting to be part of a groundbreaking for where we’re going — to cultivate and nurture what comes next,” said James Pritchett, interim dean of the college. “We’re going to do that in ways that are authentic, intentional, exciting, innovative, and above all, we’ll have seats at the table for everyone.”
In literal terms, those seats will include a state-of-the-art classroom-in-the-round lecture hall with a capacity of 180 students. The space also will house multiple computer labs and classrooms, a simulation lab, innovation spaces, conference rooms, a coffee shop and a living rooftop garden, which can double as an event space. The college teamed up with CannonDesign for the vision, and Adolfson & Peterson Construction to erect the building.
“What will this new project do?” asked Colorado state senator Jerry Sonnenberg at the event. “This new project will bring us all together to make Colorado State University’s College of Agricultural Sciences the premier ag school in the country.”
Huge investment for Colorado agriculture
The new College of Agricultural Sciences building is yet another example of committed investment in CSU’s land-grant mission. Since 2006, CSU has invested $1.8 billion system-wide in new facilities. Of that, $15 million went into renovation of the college’s Animal Sciences building, $7.5 for the construction of the new Horticulture Center, $3.3 to create the Center for Agriculture Education at ARDEC, $20 million for the new JBS Global Food Innovation Center, $10 million to open the Western Campus in Orchard Mesa, Colorado, and $43 million for the new college headquarters.
“To us, the new building means that you believe in what we’re doing here,” student Diane Hansen told the crowd at the ground-breaking. “With the new renovations we, the students, will now have a space as robust as our aspirations, and for that, we are extremely grateful.”
To stay up-to-date on the construction, and to locate faculty and staff in temporary offices on campus over the next 18 months, visit the college’s Ag on the Move web page.
— Christopher Staten, Colorado State University
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