By Mandy Gross
STILLWATER, Okla. – Oklahoma State University is building a new home for OSU Agriculture and providing hard hat tours to those who want to learn more about the construction process and see progress up close and personal.
The hard hat tours are popular as construction continues on the New Frontiers Agricultural Hall, said Randy Raper, OSU Agriculture assistant vice president of facilities.
“The tours offer a chance to see the work being done inside the building in addition to highlighting particular features of the facility,” he said. “It’s easier for participants to visualize where offices, teaching classrooms, research laboratories and other rooms are located when they are on the tour and see the construction firsthand.”
OSU Agriculture and OSU Foundation partnered with Flintco to hold tours monthly and on special occasions starting last fall.
Since January, the team has hosted four tours, which have included participants such as OSU President Kayse Shrum, Provost Jeanette Mendez and OSU Foundation President Blaire Atkinson; Cornerstone Donors Larry and Kayleen Ferguson and Barry and Roxanne Pollard; OSU/A&M Board of Regents Rick Davis, Billy Taylor and Rick Walker; and members of the OSU Agriculture Dean’s Advisory Council.
Taylor, an OSU graduate, said the New Frontiers project is a competitive advantage and an outstanding opportunity for faculty to teach, mentor and influence future generations of agricultural leaders in an inspiring space.
“You can feel the inspiration as you walk through and start to see firsthand how well-planned out the new facility truly is,” he said. “I am confident our students will feel excited to learn and be served in such a dynamic, innovative environment. New Frontiers Agricultural Hall is a great addition to Oklahoma State that we can all be proud of.”
As chief executive officer of Armstrong Bank, Taylor said it was important to invest in replacing OSU’s aging Agricultural Hall.
“We see the opportunity to support the New Frontiers project as a natural partnership that allows us to align our values, including one of our core values to ‘never stop learning,’” he said. “We believe in education wholeheartedly, and we believe in the success that will come out of this facility and this agricultural program.”
In addition, student groups have participated in tours because of the hands-on learning experiences provided by the construction of the New Frontiers Agricultural Hall.
Last fall, OSU Institute of Technology students visited the site to learn more about the advanced technology used in building the new facility. Recently, OSU construction management students had the same opportunity as they witnessed the Hilti JAIBOT in action. The JAIBOT is a semi-automated anchor/hanger point layout and drilling robot utilized for piping and duct systems and the first of its kind to be used in Oklahoma.
“The New Frontiers construction project provides great hands-on opportunities for students, and we want to take advantage of as many educational opportunities as we can,” Raper said. “It’s important for students to be able to take what they learn in the classroom and see those concepts and technology firsthand.”
The New Frontiers campaign reached its $50 million fundraising goal in record time. The campaign is recognized as one of the fastest capital campaigns at OSU and the first academic capital campaign of this magnitude to reach its fundraising goal before the building opens.
Visit New Frontiers to learn more about getting involved in the campaign or for construction updates and donor stories.
The New Frontiers campaign was launched in January 2020 to build a new state-of-the-art facility for OSU Agriculture. The New Frontiers Agricultural Hall, expected to open in fall 2024, further advances teaching, research and Extension efforts that are critical to the state’s economy, citizens’ safety and quality of life. By advancing OSU Agriculture and its programs, New Frontiers is fostering innovation to help feed the world.