The three-story building will sit west of Eleventh Avenue and several hundred yards south of College Street. Construction is expected to be completed in 2010.
"Although I am not generally a fan of chain link fences, when the construction fence was being installed, it was golden and, of course, priceless to see," said Jeff Jacobsen, dean of the College of Agriculture. "We've been looking forward to this building for a long time."
The facility will house the Department of Animal and Range Sciences, which currently resides in 101-year-old Linfield Hall.
"Our current facilities for animal and range science are antiquated," Jacobsen said. "This new building will be great for students and for livestock producers in Montana and the West."
The building will have full videoconference capabilities, the ability for events to be viewed simultaneously in some, or all, of the classrooms. There will be common areas outfitted with computer terminals for students and guests to use as well. In those common areas will be interactive displays where students, staff and visitors can learn more about the College of Agriculture, Experiment Station and agriculture-related news in the state.
"One of the outreach benefits of the building is that we'll be able provide lectures or meetings to rural areas of Montana over the Internet, even if those areas are served by slow connections," Jacobsen said. "This will allow rural Montanans a chance to participate in our educational offerings. Producers will gain from technology linking video sites across the state allowing researchers to share the latest research and production information quickly."
Of the building's cost, roughly half will be covered by private donations. Evelyn B. Wanke of Rudyard gave the largest single private donation, $2.7 million, but countless others from Montana's agriculture industry have supported the building as well.
"The support that we have received from Montana's range-livestock industry for this building has been phenomenal," Jacobsen said. "We wouldn't be where we are today without the generosity, shared vision and commitment of so many individuals, families and businesses."
The building will ultimately have a companion, a $24 million federal research facility to be constructed by the USDA Agricultural Research Service. Construction on that project is dependent on federal funding.
Contact: Lisa Duffy, assistant to the dean of the College of Agriculture, (406) 994-3683 or firstname.lastname@example.org.