Facility will aid teaching, OSU Extension
By JOHN SCHMITZ
For the Capital Press
CORVALLIS, Ore. -- Construction is well under way on an $8 million-plus facility that will expand the capabilities of Oregon State University's Animal and Rangeland Sciences Department.
Completion of the 9,300-square-foot, multi-purpose Animal Teaching and Research Pavilion is set for the fall of 2012, with the dedication set for October.
The facility, which was conceived by Jim Males, the former department head, is being funded primarily by $4 million from the private sector and $4 million in matching funds from a state bond sale.
"We're still working a little bit on donations," Males said. "We wouldn't mind going over a little bit to make sure we can equip things."
The pavilion, at the corner of Southwest 35th and Campus Way, will encompass four separate buildings, each with a specific purpose.
The largest will feature a 6,000-square-foot concrete floor arena, which can be converted to a dirt surface for events such as small farm equipment shows. The structure will also include two classrooms, a laboratory and an incubation room.
The classrooms will allow instructors to conduct classes in conjunction with animal demonstrations and other hands-on activities.
Males said there are currently no teaching laboratories available on campus to handle so-called "wet lab" needs for the department, which include physiology and nutrition classes.
The laboratory in the new facility will help students evaluate live animals and carcasses. Approximately 400 students are expected to use the lab the first year.
Another building will have a maintenance shop, forage drying ovens and two bays: one with welding facilities and the other serving as a data center for OSU.
The third building will house an animal metabolism laboratory, with the fourth devoted to a small commodity barn for feed storage and manure composting.
"(The pavilion is) something we've needed for a long time here," said Males, who stepped down as department head and went into semi-retirement Aug. 31 after 13 years at OSU.
The new structure comes at a time when OSU's Animal and Rangeland Sciences Department enrollment reached 450 majors.
"(That's) the largest we've ever been," said Males, during whose tenure enrollment has jumped.
Males said that the new complex will "help immensely" with teaching.
"In an animal science program we think that laboratories are really important, and we do a lot of teaching in those labs. This will allow us to really do that more efficiently," he said. "We won't have to take the students to the animals. We can bring the animals to the students, which for labs is really much better."
The facility will also enhance the department's Extension and Outreach programs, Males said, and also help keep science faculty at OSU.
"We'll be able to hold sales and (the facility) will be a centerpiece for the College of Agriculture," he said.
Males said that other ag schools have similar facilities.
"It's not unique," he said. "It's just that we're replacing buildings built during the 1940s with more modern ones that meet our needs much better today."
The general contractor for the project is Essex General Construction, of Eugene, Ore.
The new head of OSU's Animal Science Department is John Killefer. Males plans to continue working full-time through the fall, and then go half-time for a year or two after that.