Washington State University held a virtual dedication for the new Plant Sciences Building Monday. Due to the ongoing pandemic, WSU officials released a video to celebrate the opening of the new state of the art collaborative research facility on the Pullman campus. The $66 million building was funded by the Washington State Legislature. Construction of the four-story, 95,000 square foot building began in 2018, and was completed this fall.
School officials say the Plant Sciences building will support not only Washington’s $51 billion food and agriculture industry by providing a modern research venue for faculty, staff, and students in the Institute of Biological Chemistry, WSU’s Molecular Plant Science Program, and portions of the Departments of Horticulture, Plant Pathology, and Crop and Soil Sciences, but help international ag efforts as well.
College of Ag, Human and Natural Resource Sciences Dean André Wright said looking at this new construction is incredibly gratifying.
“This is a massive upgrade in the quality of our lab space. The labs we have now were built decades ago, and were made for a single research program. Now, we can host CAHNRS faculty from four departments, and foster research that is both applied and basic—from finding out how plants grow and interact with soil, to addressing specific challenges in agriculture.”
Wright noted CAHNRS drew on participation from members of the state’s grain, tree fruit, wine, grape, potato, dairy, beef, and raspberry industries, as well as the Washington State Department of Agriculture and the Washington Farm Bureau, in development of the facility.
“This remarkable building is not only a tremendous asset for researchers working in the plant sciences, but also represents another bold step in our Drive to 25,” said WSU President Kirk Schulz. “This facility would not have been possible without the extraordinary leadership of key elected officials, including state Senators Jim Honeyford, Judy Warnick, David Frockt, and Mark Schoesler. They understood the vision of this building in ensuring Washington’s leading role in agriculture, both nationally and globally, and making a more productive, sustainable world.”
Based in open-concept laboratories that foster collaboration, scientists at the Plant Sciences Building will use new technologies to explore complex traits in plants, defend against parasites and diseases, and improve the nation’s cyber infrastructure, among other endeavors. Knowledge developed here will help improve hundreds of important crops, including wheat, potatoes, apples, cherries, legumes, forest trees, and turfgrass.
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