Agronomy and Horticulture celebrates 100 years

Oct 11th, 2010 | By | Category: Campus News, Sept. 23

The Department of Agronomy and Horticulture celebrated its centennial Sept. 18 with the rededication of Keim Hall, tours, displays, a barbecue lunch and panel discussions on future issues.

“The Department of Agronomy and Horticulture is celebrating a century of innovation and education in support of Nebraska’s agriculture enterprise,” said Mark Lagrimini, agronomy and horticulture department head. “We will recognize the historic figures who have transformed agriculture into the state’s economic engine and look into the future of agriculture in the nation’s economy and the role in which the department will play in the next transformation focusing on profitability and sustainability.”

The Keim Hall rededication was Sept. 17.

Keim Hall, a stalwart 1950 building, reopened this summer after a two-year gut-job renovation that not only updated the building for current purposes, but also made it the one of the most energy efficient on campus. The $14 million project provided new space for the Department of Agronomy and Horticulture, the Center for Grassland Studies, the Nebraska Forest Service and USDA scientists.

A certified LEED building, architects and others used the building as a working laboratory of sorts for students interested in energy-efficient building techniques. Among the natural elements used in the building are corn-based fiber carpets, wheat straw paneling and a system to capture rainwater run-off to water plantings and supply a pond and waterfall in a courtyard.

The courtyard is also being used to expand outdoor teaching opportunities for students and as a greenspace for faculty, staff and students.

“The courtyard is still a work in progress, but it is already being used as a teaching area,” said Kim Todd, associate professor of agronomy and horticulture. “The space has always been there, but the Keim Hall renovation helped redefine the courtyard, make it an area with lots of useable space and reasons to go there.”

Todd said students began planning designs for the space three or four years ago. Landscape architect students helped with final design work. Todd said students also built the rainwater run-off system and were involved in most of the construction and planting of the courtyard.

“It’s actually going to be a very interesting teaching area because it’s three-quarters to half in shade all day,” said Todd. “It also has Wi-Fi access and when we get benches and tables in place, it will certainly be an area people will want to use to relax in.”

– Sandi Alswager Karstens, IANR News Service

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