President Bob Bell is preparing to go to Washington, D.C. in early March to lobby for programs on campus and an expansion of the Hyder-Burks Agricultural Pavilion.
“We view it as an economic incentive plan,” Pat Bagley, Agriculture and Human Sciences dean, said. “It’s an investment in the future and brings wholesome fun to Cookeville.”
The expansion of the Hyder-Burks horse barn will cost about $1 million.
The barn currently holds 75 stalls. Facility additions include 200 stalls along with more restrooms, showers and an arena.
The stalls will be removable and used as extra covered space for bigger, non-animal related events. According to Bell, this will allow Tech to host much larger equestrian events.
Bell will arrive in D.C. to help petition congressmen to give Tech more grants. He said he plans to work with an agency to prepare for the proposal presentations.
“It is a big economic impact on Cookeville when we can bring those kinds of events here,” Bell said.
Bagley said he agrees that the expansion will help the community by boosting restaurant and hotel revenue, while also bringing more students to Tech.
“Hopefully a pretty significant number of those kids will like what they see and end up coming to Tech, which will increase our student population, and have all those economic benefits that you will run into,” Bagley said.
Bagley said he predicts that pavilion will pay for itself in five years if it hosts one event per month, along with increasing tax revenue from hotels and restaurants catering to event-goers. If the arena becomes popular and Tech hosts two events a month, it could pay for itself in three years.
The rough draft plans for the new structures include have solar panels and machines that can recycle and reuse bedding for the stalls. Bagley also mentioned adding water lagoons to recycle water for cleaning the facility and arena.
“It’s a win-win,” Bagley said.
Bell said there are three objectives for going to D.C. on this trip, with the first being to ensure that Congress members understand the University’s priorities and the areas where federal support is being sought.
The second activity is for Bell to meet with several agency heads, with the third being to maintain alumni relations.
Other department grant proposals include engineering and health and human services.