Building toward a bright future
By Zeke Barlow
At the university’s Kentland Farm, students in the new Dairy Science Complex are working with professors on projects that address issues ranging from milk quality to nutrient management. Meanwhile, in the life sciences precinct on campus, researchers are collaborating in the new labs of the Human and Agricultural Biosciences Building 1 to tackle some of society’s grand challenges related to alternative energy production, water quality, and food security.
While these students and professors work in the newest facilities in the college, they won’t be our newest structures much longer. Soon, a second phase of construction to complete the Dairy Science Complex will be underway that will include three new buildings to support research and education. This construction will be followed by another extensive project to renovate and upgrade many of the livestock and poultry facilities near campus. And early planning has begun for the second biosciences building in the life sciences precinct.
“This has been a tremendous time of growth for the college,” said Dean Alan Grant. “In addition to some new facilities, we’ve been fortunate to recruit many new faculty members at the college’s on- and off-campus sites, the faculty is attracting increased levels of grant funding to support research and education, and the college’s student enrollment continues to grow.”
This past year, the National Science Foundation ranked Virginia Tech sixth of all U.S. universities for research expenditures in agricultural sciences. Much of this research is carried out in CALS and is indicative of Virginia Tech’s commitment to be a leading land-grant university. This increased research activity is providing greater opportunities for students to engage in experiential learning and is aligned with the university’s mission to provide a hands-on, minds-on education.
Creating environments that maximize the learning experience will become even more important with a growing student population. The college’s ongoing focus on renovating existing buildings and constructing new facilities will ensure that students will be able to work alongside professors in some of the most state-of-the-art facilities designed for research and education.