New Frontiers Ag Hall at OSU Set to Open Fall of 2024Tue, 26 Jul 2022 10:54:05 CDT
KC Sheperd, Farm Director, had the chance to visit with the vice president, dean and director of OSU's Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, Dr. Tom Coon, at the Sweet Success Celebration for the New Frontiers Agricultural Hall at OSU.
“We have got a lot of folks here,” Coon said. “Maybe up to 200 people who are here to help us celebrate the completion of this campaign to raise money to help support the construction of our new Agricultural Hall.”
Now that the 50-million-dollar fundraising goal has been surpassed, Coon said construction is the main focus.
“The big crane went up two weeks ago today and they are really making a lot of progress even though it is so hot,” Coon said. “The crews are coming in early and working a good day before they head out when it gets to the hottest part of the afternoon.”
The pillars are going up, Coon said, and they are pouring a lot of concrete and making good progress so the new Ag Hall will be ready two years from now.
There were over 600 donors that helped reach the 50-million-dollar fundraising goal, Coon said, which was not surprising.
“All the time I have been here, I have been really impressed with how much support we have from our alumni, certainly, but also from the people that we serve in the agricultural natural resource industries,” Coon said. “611 different donors, a lot of businesses involved and industry groups as well as people, individuals, families- some who are alumni and some who aren’t, but they really appreciate what we do to support the agriculture and natural resource industries in the state and that has helped us get here in record time.”
As vice president for agriculture, Coon said he is thankful to have a president, Dr. Kayse Shrum, who speaks repeatedly about the land grand mission and the importance of agriculture to Oklahoma.
“I feel like I’ve died and gone to heaven,” Coon said. “It is tremendous to have that kind of support at the presidential level.”
President Hargis also was very supportive of this project, Coon said, so he feels exceptionally blessed to have the immense support from university administration.
The new building is set to open in the fall of 2024, Coon said, and students will attend classes and labs in the building that year.
“We will not be teaching in these old laboratories here in Ag Hall in that fall, so research labs also will be up and equipped and ready to go, so we will have a number of our scientists opening up new projects there in the research laboratory, and we will be fully in, in the fall of ’24,” Coon said. “It gives us a real advantage in recruiting students and recruiting faculty. They want to be in a place like this, plus we really designed it so it’s a place where people can connect.”
Coon said the new Ag Hall will have plenty of space for gatherings. The Dairy Bar is the pinnacle of that, he added, but throughout the building there are places where small groups of students or faculty can get together in small groups and work on projects, or they can just have a space to visit.
“Those social skills are really key to our graduates and their success in the industry,” Coon said. “They need to understand how to relate to other people who might be a little different from them, so we are creating a habitat where they can get that done.”
There is record enrollment at OSU this fall, Coon said and there is more freshman enrolled than ever before.
“We are really excited about it,” Coon said. “It is going to stretch us, but that is a good thing.”
Click the LISTEN BAR below to hear more from KC and Dr. Coon talking at the Sweet Success Celebration for the New Frontiers Agricultural Hall at OSU.
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