New agriculture lab expected next year

Plans to turn a Shipley Farm storage barn into a lab for agricultural engineering technology is expected to be completed by this time next year, an official said.


The location across the Hyder-Burks Pavilion currently is used to store the farm’s combines and tractors.


The proposed lab is intended to improve students’ understanding of major concepts in the field.


“Several of the concepts can prove difficult to learn without any hands-on experience,” John Russel, president of the Agricultural  Engineering Club, said.


Agriculture professor Keith Morris said the college used to have labs in the former maintenance building but lost that space. Lack of space forced officials to cancel some specialized classes, such as Agricultural Machinery and Tractors which involves students working on tractors, combines, sprayers and other equipment.


“Currently we do not have space to anything with our labs,” Morris said.


The renovation project includes removing two silos and updating a loafing barn to make room for new bathrooms and a workshop. Two new hay barns also are planned to accommodate hay displaced by stored equipment.


“The new building will create opportunities we haven’t had previously,” senior Anderson Schmittou said. “We are looking forward to the advancement of the ag engineering department, new experiences and knowledge that will be gained.”