PULLMAN, Wash. — Groundbreaking for Phase 1 of the new Plant Biosciences complex is set for 11 a.m., Oct. 1, at Washington State University.

Open to the public, the event will take place in front of Johnson Hall Annex on Wilson Road. R. James Cook, interim dean, College of Agriculture and Home Economics, will preside. Speakers will include V. Lane Rawlins, WSU president and Peter Goldmark, WSU regent. Also speaking will be representatives of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Joseph Jen, Washington, D.C., and Antoniette Betschart, Albany, Calif. Jen, who earned a Master of Science food science degree from WSU in 1964, is U.S. under secretary for Research, Education and Economics. Betschart is director of the USDA Agricultural Research Services’ Pacific West Area.

Scheduled for completion in spring 2005, the $39 million Phase 1 building will have more than 93,000 square feet on four floors, said Paul Couture of WSU Capital Planning and Development.

“This new state-of-the-art building will provide the college with both basic research as well as teaching laboratories,” he said. Housed in the upper three floors will be 30 research labs with lab support areas. On the ground floor will be four major teaching laboratories with adjacent equipment demonstration and support areas. About one-third of the labs will be assigned to USDA Agricultural Research Service scientists.

Prominent features of the building will be a student study gallery on the first floor and interaction areas on all four floors for research scientists, faculty and students.

The new building will provide “world-class research and teaching facilities and represents the first of several new buildings that will create a new research and education complex” for WSU, said Couture.

Funding for the new construction came from the state Legislature.

Researchers and students will move into the new building from the adjacent Johnson Hall building, which opened for use in 1961.

Johnson Hall is named for Edward C. Johnson, WSU College of Agriculture dean from 1919 to 1949.