Agriculture begins its second 100 years in the Texas A&M University System with a grand opening celebration of new buildings that house its statewide operations.

The Sept. 23 event which begins at 3 p.m. will be hosted by Dr. Mark Hussey, vice chancellor and dean of agriculture and life sciences, with comments from Texas A&M Board of Regents chair Richard Box, Chancellor John Sharp and President R. Bowen Loftin. The public is invited.

The 166,000-square-foot Agriculture and Life Sciences Building on the university’s west campus includes the administrative offices for the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Texas AgriLife Research and Texas AgriLife Extension Service, three academic departments and ultramodern classrooms. It is adjoined by a 13,000-square-foot AgriLife Center which serves as a multi-use exhibit, event and educational facility.

These buildings, and the 81,000-square-foot Administrative Services Building, which will be completed in January, all have been built “green,” according to Hussey.

“The Agriculture and Life Sciences buildings demonstrate our commitment to good stewardship of the land, air, soil and water,” Hussey said. “Each of the buildings is designed to meet U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design standards.”

Each building has high-performance lighting and carbon dioxide sensors that allow the system to bring in outside air only when needed, reducing the energy needed to heat or cool outside air, according to Hussey. A cistern canopy and rainwater capture is designed to capture rain running off the roof into four pillars, each capable of holding 9,000 gallons of water. That water flows into a 40,000-gallon underground tank that can be used for landscape irrigation.

Other environmental features include a bioswale, or gently sloping landscape at the back of the complex, which will help clean silt and pollutants from any surface runoff water before it enters a storm sewer, and showers and bike racks for health-and energy-conscious commuters who walk or cycle during the workday.

Texas granite, limestone, wood paneling and masonry were used in the buildings, because the nearness of materials lowered transportation emissions and contributed to the local economies.

The five-story main building also includes the departments of agricultural economics; agricultural leadership, education and communications; and recreation, park and tourism sciences.

Agricultural fashion is found in the wood ceilings of the hallways and lobbies while classrooms are carpeted with cow-print flooring. Computer labs are fully equipped with a variety of the latest technology and classrooms have sophisticated projection systems and stadium-styled risers.

Tour stops for the grand opening will include these areas plus the donor walls, break rooms and the Texas A&M Foundation office for agriculture development.

For more information, see http://aghq.tamu.edu/