The West Virginia University Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design began a new chapter last week (Sept. 9), formally dedicating the latest addition to WVU’s Evansdale Campus – the new Agricultural Sciences Building.
“The new Agricultural Sciences Building and the revitalized Evansdale Campus are ushering in a new era,” President E. Gordon Gee told the more than 300 students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends gathered for the ceremony. “It is an era of cutting-edge learning and discovery for 21st century Mountaineers. And, true to our land-grant heritage, it is an era of redoubled service to West Virginia and the world.”
The special occasion was marked by a ribbon-cutting and the inclusion of live music, provided by Davis College alumnus Nat Frederick, food, and building demonstrations and tours.
“This new building, which is truly state-of-the-art and, without a doubt, the most advanced academic building of its kind, is a historic turning point toward the future of food, clothing and shelter – the fundamentals of life – as the university further embraces the state of West Virginia and all the good things that we can contribute toward our shared future,” said Davis College Dean Daniel J. Robison.
West Virginia State Treasurer John Perdue, who is also chair of the Davis College Visiting Committee, acknowledged the role the new facility will fulfill in continuing to develop successful graduates.
“This is a very meaningful day for all of us,” he said. “I am in awe of this new facility. The opportunities it will afford its students will be bountiful.”
“It’s the nurturing, attention, tenderness and knowledge we share with each other that is the true foundation of this College and is the very reason our students become strong leaders,” he added.
In addition to enhancing the student experience, the new facility will help reinforce service and collaboration across the state.
“This building is more than brick and mortar and more than classrooms and laboratory space,” WVU Extension Service Dean and Director Steve Bonanno said. “It represents the opportunity to fortify areas that make our programs viable to West Virginians through increased research and strengthened partnerships.”
Also attending were West Virginia Department of Agriculture Commissioner Walt Helmick and the WVU Board of Governors and Chairman Tom Flaherty.
The groundbreaking for the new Agricultural Sciences Building was held in September 2013. This addition to Evansdale campus is part of WVU’s multi-year, $159.5 million building plan that was approved in June 2011 by the WVU Board of Governors. Construction was completed earlier this summer and faculty, staff and students began occupying the space in August.
The new facility is a five-story building with 207,000 gross square feet and located adjacent to the site of the original Agricultural Sciences Building that was completed in 1961. It has an unfinished space of 11,000 square feet for future completion.
The building includes six general purpose classrooms, two computer labs and numerous departmental teaching and research laboratories that support animal and nutritional sciences, entomology, genetics, human nutrition and foods, landscape architecture, reproductive physiology, resource management and soil science.
In adherence to WVU design standards which dictate that all buildings be built to LEED-equivalent standards, a long list of sustainability features are incorporated into the building’s sleek, innovative design.
Included among the list of features: an energy recovery system that captures heat or cold exhausted from laboratories and HVAC system that reduces exhaust from unoccupied laboratories; occupancy and motion sensors in many rooms; and a green roof on the west side of the building, which helps with regulating building temperature, reducing maintenance and replacement of roof systems, and retaining more stormwater than a typical roof. The green roof also provides beautification and improves air quality.
Thoughtful consideration went into many of the finishing touches throughout the building. Featured on the wall of the main lobby is a handmade quilt made by interior design alumna Pamela Mann. Gat Creek, a West Virginia-based furniture manufacturer that works exclusively with locally-sourced domestic hardwoods, provided some of the custom wood furniture.
The architect for the project was HOK, a global design, architecture, engineering and planning firm. PJ Dick, a construction company headquartered in Pittsburgh served as the building contractor. WVU Design and Construction continues to oversee the overall scope of the project as many of the final details are completed.
“We are so grateful for the opportunity this new building represents,” said Robison. “It speaks to the confidence parents all across West Virginia and beyond have when they send their daughters and sons to WVU to study; it speaks to the research capacity of our faculty to discover, design and innovate and make the world a better place; and it speaks to our collective outlook that our future must be bright and the hard work it will take to get there. In this building will be people working hard, with sleeves rolled up, ready to help make that future.”