Good fortune showered on West Texas A&M University on Friday, Sept. 7, just like the much needed rain that fell during the ribbon-cutting ceremony that celebrated the opening of the new Agricultural Sciences Complex.
Students, faculty, city officials and citizens from the local area all gathered for the important ceremony. Also joining were multiple people from the state government including the senators and representatives of the Texas Legislature, who were instrumental in the passing of the bill that granted WTAMU with more than $38 million of the $48 million needed for construction.
“This is a fantastic opportunity and we’re putting WT on the map,” said Dr. Ty Lawrence, professor of animal science.
Just like the rain, the creation of this new building was much needed and long overdue. Construction, led by two of President Walter Wendler’s former architecture students, started two years ago and was completed just in time for the start of fall classes.
“I think this a really great opportunity for agriculture majors and WT has some of the best professors in the country,” said Ag Ambassador Whitney Mount, junior agriculture education major.
Many students are greatly excited for the new complex and all of the opportunities it has to offer. The complex has state of the art equipment with a beef carcass center that is top of the line with a hanging rail that can carry the body of an animal from processing directly to an actual classroom. This is so students can actually study a real beef carcass and understand the process from start to finish. TheBane Event Center will also host a multitude of events including equestrian events, rodeos and 4-H and FFA conferences and competitions.
“This building was built for being student-centered, so when we study in the second floor and the third floor, the offices are on the other side so we can ask questions if you are studying for an exam or a quiz,” saidAg Ambassador Hannah Wellman, senior agriculture education major.
The new building houses the Caviness Meat Science and Innovation Center, the Bain Event Center, the three-story Happy State Bank Academic and Research Building, the Piehl-Schaeffer Pavillion and a multi-purpose arena that can seat up to 500 people. The entire complex totals up to over 150,000 square feet.
“This center is more than an academic place, it is a community place,” said Dr. Lance Kieth, head of the department of agriculture, “to bring people in, to educate and to do what a university does.”
Multiple people gave their gratitude and congratulations during the ceremony including Dr. Lal K. Almas, who has been serving as the interim dean of the Paul Engler College of Agricultural and Natural Sciences in place of the late Dr. Dean Hawkins. It was announced that the new dean of the college, Dr. Kevin Pond, will be taking over starting in December later this year.
“Yes, WT is the heart of the Texas Panhandle, but agriculture is the lifeline of that heart,” said Almas.
The new Paul Engler Agriculture and Natural Sciences Complex has put the university on the map, cementing WTAMU as an important part of teaching and training the future leaders and workers of the agricultural industry. The addition of the new complex will open up WTAMU’s attendance rate and provide more opportunities for an area heavy in agriculture.
The ribbon cutting took place at the Agricultural Sciences Complex at the corner of Russell Long Boulevard and W Texas A&M Drive with tours of the new facility following immediately after.