Approved by the Texas Tech University System Board of Regents in December 2013, the project will add 21,122 square feet of new construction. The project also includes 2,440 square feet of renovation and exterior upgrades to the existing home of the Department of Plant and Soil Science, located on the south side of 15th Street (2709 15th Street).
The project is funded by donations to Texas Tech, including lead contributions from Bayer CropScience, as well as Dale and Cheryl Swinburn of Tulia. The new building will include open labs with expanded support and graduate student spaces, as well as an instructional lab, departmental suite and space for research equipment. Renovations within the existing building will create new space for faculty, staff and graduate students and will provide a connection to the new building.
“Our relationship with Bayer CropScience continues to grow, further strengthening the contributions and impact we both have on agriculture in West Texas and beyond,” Texas Tech University President M. Duane Nellis said. “This partnership is a wonderful example of industry, research and higher education coming together to explore and create solutions and foster ideas to benefit the agriculture landscape.”
The addition will form a multi-functional outdoor courtyard that will also serve as an outdoor instructional space for the Department of Plant & Soil Science programs. The $13.6 million project also will include infrastructure upgrades, landscape enhancements and public art, and is expected to be completed in June 2015.
In February, Texas Tech received a $19.3 million contribution from Bayer CropScience benefiting research in the Department of Plant & Soil Science and this project. The contribution was submitted for an equal amount of state matching funds from the Texas Research Incentive Program (TRIP), increasing the total impact to $38.6 million and making it the largest cash investment for research in Texas Tech’s history.
“Our ongoing collaboration with Texas Tech University is very important to Bayer CropScience,” said Mike Gilbert, vice president of global breeding and trait development. “The new facilities will enhance our collective ability to bring the best and brightest agricultural talent from both institutions as we continue to move toward our joint goal to drive the development of new technologies and approaches that will fuel the future success of plant and soil science.”
The building is designed to meet LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) certification, meaning designers and contractors will implement green building design solutions and ensure both construction and maintenance of the building are environmentally responsible.
“Our Department of Plant & Soil Science is the best of the best, and the research possibilities for our faculty and students will be endless thanks to the new facilities,” said Chancellor Kent Hance. “We are truly grateful for the generosity of Dale and Cheryl and for our valuable collaboration with Bayer CropScience for making this a reality.”
The project is being managed internally by the Facilities Planning and Construction department under the leadership of Vice Chancellor Michael Molina. The project team also includes SmithGroupJJR architectural firm and Skanska USA Building as the general contractor.