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New home for research: WSU breaks ground on state-of-the-art Plant Sciences Building

Dignitaries ceremonially break ground, lifting dirt with shovels at the future site of the Plant Sciences Building.
Dignitaries breaking ground for the new Plant Sciences Building include, from left, Rich Koenig, Derek Sandison, Jim Moyer, Ron Mittelhammer, Dan Bernardo, André Wright, Kirk Schulz, Mark Schoesler, Mike LaPlant, Mary Dye, Brett Blankenship, Bryan Slinker (WSU Photo-Shelly Hanks).
Wright, Schulz and Schoesler, in hard hats, with shovels, at groundbreaking.
WSU President Kirk Schulz, center, with André Wright, Dean of the College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences, left, and State Sen. Mark Schoesler, right, smile at the groundbreaking for Washington State University’s new Plant Sciences Building (WSU Photo-Matt Ziegler).

PULLMAN, Wash—Washington State University broke ground today for the Plant Sciences Building, a new state-of-the-art home for research in Washington.

The fourth of six planned buildings in the V. Lane Rawlins Research and Education Complex on the Pullman campus, the $52 million Plant Sciences Building was approved by the Washington State Legislature this year.

The four-story, 95,000-square-foot building supports Washington’s $51 billion food and agriculture industry by providing a modern research venue for faculty and students in plant biochemistry, plant pathology, horticulture, and crop and soil sciences. Currently, these programs are located in Johnson Hall, built in 1959, and Clark Hall, constructed in 1971.

“It’s a great time to build and move forward,” said WSU President Kirk Schulz.

“Our goal is to be recognized as one of the top 25 public research universities by 2030,” said Schulz, who thanked the Washington State Legislature, the Washington agricultural commissions, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service, along with industry and university leaders who made the new building possible.

In hardhats, with shovels, Mark Schoesler, Mike LaPlant, and Mary Dye smile following the groundbreaking ceremony.
State Sen. Mark Schoesler, Washington Farm Bureau President Mike LaPlant, and State Rep. Mary Dye smile following the groundbreaking ceremony.

“I look forward to seeing the exciting work that we continue do to support Washington agriculture and keep us regionally and globally competitive, so that our farmers and ranchers have the tools they need to be successful,” Schulz added.

André Wright, dean of the College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences (CAHNRS), said the new research facility will help keep Washington’s food and agriculture industries competitive in a global marketplace.

“This new building is exactly what a land-grant university is all about,” said Wright. “Our land-grant mission is dedicated to research, extension and outreach that not only tackles the state’s challenges, but moves us into the future.

“Modern, high-quality facilities are integral to that mission,” Wright added. “They help us attract and retain top scientists, provide a space to educate the next generation of researchers and industry professionals—and carry out our ultimate goal—using science to solve the challenges we face as a state, nation and world.”

WSU and CAHNRS leaders in hardhats hold shovels during the groundbreaking ceremony.
Launching construction of WSU’s new Plant Sciences Building are, from left, Ron Mittelhammer, former Dean of CAHNRS; Dan Bernardo, WSU Provost; CAHNRS Dean André Wright; and WSU President Kirk Schulz (WSU Photo-Matt Ziegler).

Turning the earth to symbolically mark the beginning of construction, Schulz and Wright were joined by Washington 9th District state Sen. Mark Schoesler; 9th District state Rep. Mary Dye; Washington State Department of Agriculture Director Derek Sandison; Washington Farm Bureau President Mike LaPlant; WSU Regent Brett Blankenship; WSU Provost Dan Bernardo; Bryan Slinker, dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine; Rich Koenig, interim chair of Crop and Soil Sciences, Horticulture and associate dean of Extension; Ron Mittelhammer, former CAHNRS dean; and Jim Moyer, former CAHNRS associate dean of research.

Media Contacts

Seth Truscott, Communications Coordinator, WSU College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences, 509-335-8164