Construction of Oklahoma State University’s much-anticipated Institute for Agricultural Biosciences in Ardmore will begin with official groundbreaking ceremonies at 2 p.m. on Friday, May 1.
The groundbreaking ceremonies are open to the public and will take place at the building site, approximately a quarter mile east of the Noble Foundation campus, located at the southeast corner of Highway 199 and Mary Niblack Road.
The Oklahoma Legislature and Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education identified the institute as a high priority because of the expanded biobased-energy and -product research made possible by the joining of scientific resources within OSU and the Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation.
“In many ways, Oklahoma is the intersection between agriculture and energy, making our state particularly well-positioned to take a lead role in helping the United States become a viable biobased economy,” said Robert E. Whitson, vice president, dean and director of the OSU Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, of which the institute will be a part.
The institute will enable OSU and the Noble Foundation to more effectively assist producers through the development of new or improved crops and crop production systems that will in turn enhance livestock production; develop new, viable alternatives for rural economies with an emphasis on economic development and technology transfer; and advance Oklahoma’s research capacity in the fields of plant science, agricultural research and biomass development.
Whitson said the ability to enhance Oklahoma’s research capacity cannot be overstated.
“The best way to ensure Oklahoma needs are met by the coming biobased economy is to be a leader in terms of developing scientific advances and new technologies, which will doubtless affect quality of life in both rural and urban areas,” he said. “We’ve had a long-term working relationship with the Noble Foundation since 1951. The strengthening of our collaborative efforts stands to benefit all of Oklahoma for decades to come.”
Construction of the institute will conform to Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design standards, making the facility as “green” as possible in terms of sustainability, water efficiency, energy and atmosphere, materials and resources and indoor environmental quality.
The facility will include administrative space, traditional and controlled environmental laboratories, greenhouses, conference facilities and state-of-the-art telecommunications for worldwide conferencing and long-distance education programs.