UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Leaders from Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences and Office of Physical Plant, the HOK architectural firm, and Turner Construction Co. on Sept. 11 held a ceremony to mark the halfway point of construction of the Animal, Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences Building on the University Park campus.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, organizers limited the attendance at the traditional "topping out" ceremony, at which all participants wore masks and practiced social distancing. The event also was livestreamed for remote viewing.
The building, located on the site of the former Henning Building on Shortlidge Road between Curtin Road and Park Avenue, is expected to be completed in late 2021. The 105,000-square-foot, $98.5 million facility will house research laboratories, instructional spaces and offices for the Animal Science and the Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences departments in the College of Agricultural Sciences.
Rick Roush, dean of the College of Agricultural Sciences, pointed out that the two departments combined enroll more than 680 undergraduate and 100 graduate students and conduct transdisciplinary research that provides real-world solutions, many of which are delivered throughout Pennsylvania and beyond via Penn State Extension programming.
"Animal production is the largest sector of Pennsylvania agriculture, with more than 80,000 jobs," Roush said. "About 29% of agricultural employment is directly related to animal production and the crop production that supports it, providing more than $9 billion to the Pennsylvania economy — and growing."
Roush noted that the departments of Animal Science and Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences are major contributors to this success, but the departments' educational and research programs increasingly were hampered by the obsolete design and failing infrastructure of the now-demolished Henning Building.
"But this new Animal, Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences Building will provide us the opportunity, indeed the obligation, to do more," he said. "Our discovery research and our students will contribute to a safe, affordable and abundant food supply, while helping to mitigate environmental impacts of food and animal production and enhancing animal and human health."