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New home for research: WSU breaks ground on state-of-the-art Plant Sciences Building 

Ceremonial shovels wedged into dirt
Plant Sciences Building Groundbreaking (Photo by Shelly Hanks, WSU Photo Services)

By Seth Truscott,
College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences

PULLMAN, Wash. — Washington State University broke ground Wednesday for the Plant Sciences Building, a new state-of-the-art home for research in Washington.

The fourth of six planned buildings in the V. Lane Rawlins Research and Education Complex on the Pullman campus, the $52 million Plant Sciences Building was approved by the Washington State Legislature this year.

The four-story, 95,000-square-foot building supports Washington’s $51 billion food and agriculture industry by providing a modern research venue for faculty and students in plant biochemistry, plant pathology, horticulture, and crop and soil sciences. Currently, these programs are located in Johnson Hall, built in 1959, and Clark Hall, constructed in 1971.

“It’s a great time to build and move forward,” said WSU President Kirk Schulz.

“Our goal is to be recognized as one of the top 25 public research universities by 2030,” said Schulz, who thanked the Washington State Legislature, the Washington agricultural commissions, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service, along with industry and university leaders who made the new building possible.

“I look forward to seeing the exciting work that we continue do to support Washington agriculture and keep us regionally and globally competitive, so that our farmers and ranchers have the tools they need to be successful,” Schulz added.

André Wright, dean of the College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences (CAHNRS), said the new research facility will help keep Washington’s food and agriculture industries competitive in a global marketplace.

“This new building is exactly what a land-grant university is all about,” said Wright. “Our land-grant mission is dedicated to research, extension and outreach that not only tackles the state’s challenges, but moves us into the future.

“Modern, high-quality facilities are integral to that mission,” Wright added. “They help us attract and retain top scientists, provide a space to educate the next generation of researchers and industry professionals — and carry out our ultimate goal — using science to solve the challenges we face as a state, nation and world.”

Turning the earth to symbolically mark the beginning of construction, Schulz and Wright were joined by Washington 9th District state Sen. Mark Schoesler; 9th District state Rep. Mary Dye; Washington State Department of Agriculture Director Derek Sandison; Washington Farm Bureau President Mike LaPlant; WSU Regent Brett Blankenship; WSU Provost Dan Bernardo; Bryan Slinker, dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine; Rich Koenig, associate dean of Extension and interim chair of Crop and Soil Sciences, Horticulture; Ron Mittelhammer, former CAHNRS dean; and Jim Moyer, former CAHNRS associate dean of research.

Rich Koenig, Derek Sandison, Jim Moyer, Ron Mittelhammer, Dan Bernardo, André Wright, Kirk Schulz, Mark Schoesler, Mike LaPlant, Mary Dye, Brett Blankenship, Bryan Slinker break ground on new Plant Sciences Building on Pullman campus (WSU Photo-Shelly Hanks).
Dignitaries breaking ground for the new Plant Sciences Building include, from left, Rich Koenig, Derek Sandison, Jim Moyer, Ron Mittelhammer, Dan Bernardo, André Wright, Kirk Schulz, Mark Schoesler, Mike LaPlant, Mary Dye, Brett Blankenship, Bryan Slinker (WSU Photo-Shelly Hanks).



Seth Truscott, communications coordinator, WSU College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences, 509-335-8164,

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