LUBBOCK, Texas — On Friday, Texas Tech University held a special ribbon-cutting ceremony to unveil renovations to their historic dairy barn.
According to Texas Tech, the dairy barn was built in 1926, three years after the construction of the school. By the 1930s, Texas Tech’s Dairy Manufacturing Department helped produce milk and other dairy items for the school’s cafeteria.
Dudley K. Montgomery, a Texas Tech alumni, said he remembers the barn’s history and how students utilized it to get through school.
“The dairy was a part of the beginning of the school,” said Montgomery, “In fact, I think they let some students bring a cow to school, and they would use the milk from the cow to help pay for college.”
In addition, Montgomery said he had a cousin who graduated from Tech in 1950 with a Dairy Manufacturing degree.
“[He] went on to work for Borden Dairy company, which was one of the larger milk processing companies in the United States,” Montgomery said. “The Tech graduates in dairy manufacturing [was] probably [one] of the better schools for students to go work in the dairy industry, so I think it’s a great part of our history.”
Decades after the barn was abandoned in 1966, efforts were made by students and alumni to bring it back to life. In 2017 a $3.5 million restoration plan was released illustrating a renovated and functional space for students and alumni.
“So many people, so many alumni, especially from the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources provided some financial support to provide minor repairs but more importantly they kept alive a vision that we realize today,” said Dr. Lawrence Schovanec, President at Texas Tech University.
Madelon Clark, a student majoring in Agricultural Communications, said she was excited to be part of the barn’s reopening.
“[It] has always been a very special place to me on campus because it just shows the history of agriculture in the South Plains of Texas, as well, here at Texas Tech,” Clark said.
Kinley Kalbas, an Agriculture and Applied Economics major, said although she was not around in the 1900s to milk cows to pay for her tuition, she respects those students who made the effort to succeed.
“I think that kind of goes to show how hard-working kids in the College of Agriculture are that they’re willing to do what it takes to be able to be a part of this program,” said Kalbas.