A groundbreaking ceremony for a new Agronomy Research and Innovation Center at Kansas State University had to be moved indoors Monday, due to rain, leading to a standing-room only crowd of guests inside the university’s Agronomy Education Center.
The new facility will be located within the Edge Collaboration District, across from Bill Snyder Family Stadium. It was realized after K-State was awarded a $25 million challenge grant from the Kansas Department of Commerce, earlier this year, that required leveraging private funds at a 3 to 1 match with state funds, to construct facilities aimed at improving workforce development and advancing innovation.
K-State President Richard Linton spoke about the endeavor and how well funding has come together.
Gov. Laura Kelly was on hand for the announcement, noting that soon, students and researchers will be working in Manhattan with global partners to find solutions to some of agriculture’s biggest challenges.
The project is the first of two major multimillion dollar facilities upgrades getting underway this year. The other, a new Global Center for Food and Grain Innovation will be located near Call and Weber Halls.
K-State College of Agriculture Dean Dr. Ernie Minton has for years stressed the need for more modernized facilities and says Monday’s announcement was nothing short of an emotional one for him.
He says fundraising, while always a challenge, came together because so many of their key stakeholders recognized the value in upgrading the infrastructure, much of which hasn’t been updated in more than a half century.
The new center will capitalize on collaborative efforts between scientists and embedded industry partners. Department of Agronomy Professor and Department Head Dr. Raj Khosla spoke about some of the perks that will come with the new facility, including a visualization lab.
U.S. Senator Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) also spoke at Monday’s ceremony, noting he believes the work that will be accomplished, between private sector companies and agricultural researchers, will help spur workforce development and economic prosperity. He says it goes in line with considerations he takes into account when working on legislation, such as the farm bill.
University officials hope to have the new center completed and moved into by early 2025. More information on the project is available via the KSU Foundation website.