Darr Agricultural Center enters Phase III

Shovels will soon be breaking ground on the third and final phase of construction at the William H. Darr Agricultural Center. A $1 million pledge made by Bill and Virginia Darr enabled the University to launch the project, an important component of Missouri State University’s capital campaign. Fund-raising efforts to fully finance the $6.5 million project are well under way.

The new facility is seeking LEED silver certification and will be constructed with the utmost care and concern for sustainability. University architect Doug Sampson shares how the students of Missouri State are helping shape the project. “The students are pushing for sustainable design to be incorporated into all the new facilities being constructed on campus. This project, and its function and location, all help the University to meet this desire of the campus. We are excited that this may be one of the first certified buildings the campus has constructed.”

Several measures being incorporated in design plans will maximize energy efficiency and minimize environmental impact. Examples of this include the design of the site features to filter storm water runoff before it reaches the area streams, occupancy sensors that will shut down lighting and control temperatures when no one is in the room or area, the use of natural light where possible, and a special ground source heat-pump mechanical system to take advantage of the earth’s constant temperature 200 feet below the surface. Finally, a light colored roof will be installed in order to minimize the solar heat gain through the roof.

Phase II, completed in fall 2007, included extensive renovation of the main arena, as well as the addition of a stalling barn, a multi-use barn, office space, bovine and equine handling facilities, a research laboratory, a classroom, and a two-bedroom apartment for graduate student housing. In addition, recent improvements include paving all of the interior roads, construction of parking lots on the east and west sides of the Pinegar Arena, installation of exterior lighting in the parking lots, and the construction of a deceleration lane to allow for safer access to the center from Kansas Expressway.

While design plans are not yet final, a proposed rendering is shown. The structure offers accommodations for lab/lecture, office, banquet/ meeting space, as well as machine maintenance and storage. The building will serve educational, technical and customer service needs within every sector of the agricultural industry: animal science, continuing education, community development, business and industry, human-environmental sciences, horticulture, consumer studies and youth development.

The center, located on a 90-acres near the intersection of Kansas Expressway and Sunshine Street in southwest Springfield, is a unique asset that supports the Department of Agriculture’s diverse programs, and reflects the importance of agriculture as a key economic component of the region. Missouri State’s metropolitan location and the Darr Agricultural Center provide a unique opportunity to demonstrate the interactions between traditional agriculture’s rural origin and the more urban setting of modern America.

The Darr Agricultural Center serves as a laboratory and field experience classroom for the study of livestock management, equine studies, horticulture, agronomy, animal science, and wildlife conservation and management. An additional benefit of the Center is that it provides agricultural/green space within the rapidly expanding Springfield metropolitan area. For information on how you can help bring Phase III closer to serving students, please contact Jaimie Trussell, director of development, at 417-836-4143 or at Jtrussell@missouristate.edu

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