Mississippi State University celebrated the grand opening of its new Animal and Dairy Sciences Building in a ribbon-cutting ceremony Monday. The new building is located at the corner of Blackjack Road and Hail State Boulevard.
The 34,500-square-foot building consists of classrooms, laboratories, faculty offices and a graduate student suite. The building was specially designed to meet the increasing needs of the roughly 450 students and 40 faculty members that are a part of the Animal and Dairy Sciences Department, one of the largest departments in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.
The creation of a new building to house the growing ADS department has been in the works now for around six years, since the initial request for a new building was placed in 2013, according to Reuben Moore, interim vice president of the Division of Agriculture. The new building will replace the department’s old home in Ballew Hall, which has been in use as the ADS main building for 57 years since its opening in 1962.
Now that the new building is finally completed and dedicated, the ADS department is wasting no time in making use of the facility. Faculty and graduate assistants had already moved into the new office spaces and graduate office suite prior to the dedication ceremony. The ongoing graduate and faculty research have also already been moved into the new graduate laboratories. Additionally, according to John Blanton, Animal and Dairy Sciences department head, classes and labs are scheduled to move into the new facility in the coming weeks.
The ADS Building is now the second addition to the growing compound of agriculture buildings on the corner of Blackjack Road and Hail State Boulevard next to the College of Veterinary Medicine at the Wise Center. A new Meat Science and Muscle Biology Laboratory was opened in fall 2018, a new Poultry Science Building is currently under construction with a predicted competition date of Spring 2020 and a connecting atrium between the ADS Building and the Poultry Science Building is also under construction.
According to Moore, the creation of this animal agriculture complex is unprecedented among universities, and is seen as a major advancement of agriculture in the state and the nation in regard to promotion, education and research.
“We’re at a university that is proud of and represents its heritage as a land grant university. When you come to Mississippi State University, you see agriculture as you come in the door,” Blanton said, “We are proud to be working at a university where we can showcase what we do for the state and for the world.”
In addition to Animal and Dairy Sciences faculty and administration, university administration and agriculture leaders in the community and state were present at the dedication of the building to express their excitement for what this facility will bring to the future of animal agriculture. Gary Jackson, MSU Extension Service director, was one of these leaders that spoke of his hope for the impact of the facility.
“Now, more than ever, we must be united in our advocacy for agriculture and for producers who labor to provide the world’s food, fiber and fuel. But, what’s more exciting than this facility is what will happen inside of it and come out to the world,” Jackson said. “Faculty teaching and learning within these classrooms will shape the future of animal agriculture not only in Mississippi, but in the world.”
Overall, the official unveiling of the new ADS facility was seen as a huge step forward for the university as well as the state in the continuous pursuit of academic excellence, industry promotion and creation of new generations of successful and influential animal scientists. MSU President Mark Keenum expressed his belief in this new facility’s role in the agriculture industry, citing MSU's top 10 rank in agriculture schools across the nation.
“In the nation, among all colleges and universities, Mississippi State is ranked in the top 10, and that speaks volumes to our commitment to supporting this valuable industry in Mississippi and our nation and help feed the world,” Keenum said.