Ground was broken to commemorate construction of a new Department of Food, Agricultural and Biological Engineering building at the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center this month. The previous engineering building was destroyed in a tornado in 2010.
"This is not the way you usually want to plan for your facilities," says Bruce McPheron, associate vice president for agricultural administration and dean, College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences, referring to the $30 million in tornado damages done to the OARDC campus.
"But this is a remarkable opportunity for a new start. The research capacity we have here at OARDC is unparalleled, and this is a very important investment for both Ohio State and the agricultural community."
Ohio legislators representing Wooster and Wayne County, staff from the offices of U.S. senators Sherrod Brown and Rob Portman, and local city and county officials attended the groundbreaking.
"I got tired of looking at the remains of that building every day for about two years," said OARDC Director Steve Slack. "I want to thank the department's leadership and support from the university to help get us to this day. I also want to recognize our partners with the city of Wooster and Wayne County, and I can't say enough about our congressional delegation in Ohio."
The state of Ohio supported the project with $6 million in funding for the new building, by allocating emergency funds. Total cost of the building is $14 million, with $3.6 million coming from insurance and the rest from state funds.
"This is a great day," says State Rep. Ron Amstutz, whose 3rd House District includes Wooster and who was instrumental in securing the emergency funds. "I'm delighted to have been a small part of this effort to put together this great asset for our state and the country."
"This facility represents the best of what Ohio has to offer: our rich agricultural traditions and state-of-the-art technologies for agricultural production and advanced energy," says Ohio Sen. Frank LaRose from the 27th Senate District, which includes Wayne County.
The new structure will be the first "green" building on the Wooster campus, certified "Silver" by the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design program.
Construction of the building will begin in the summer of 2013 and is expected to be completed by late fall 2014.