The University of Missouri’s plant science research took another step forward Saturday, celebrating a key phase in the construction of a new facility that will expand resources for researchers across campus. The new MU Plant Growth Research Facility marked its “topping off” — or completion of the building’s framework — with a ceremony featuring numerous project partners.
The $28.2 million Plant Growth Research Facility will enhance the campus’s plant biology programs through a major expansion of state-of-the-art research greenhouse and plant growth chamber facilities with controlled lighting, temperature, humidity and CO2 environments. The project is expected to be completed by April 2019.
“MU is already well known throughout the world for its plant science research, and this facility will further expand our cutting-edge resources that are helping our scientists address global hunger issues,” UM System President Mun Choi said. “We expect MU’s strengths in collaboration to grow with this facility as researchers from the colleges of Engineering and Arts and Science will be included on projects happening in this facility. The new greenhouse is another example of the university’s commitment to advancing research capabilities at the University of Missouri resulting in benefits to the state’s agriculture industry.”
Choi was one of the featured speakers during the ceremony, along with Latha Ramchand, MU executive vice chancellor and provost. Donald Cupps, curator emeritus for the UM Board of Curators, and Chris Chinn, director of the Missouri Department of Agriculture, also spoke.
The celebration centered on how important the new facility will be for MU to advance research and education in plant biology, as well as facilitating recruitment of top-flight faculty and students.
The facility will be used by faculty, staff and students throughout campus. Christopher Daubert, vice chancellor and dean for the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources; Pat Okker, dean for the College of Arts and Science; and Bob Sharp, director of the campus-wide Interdisciplinary Plant Group, shared what the facility will mean for their programs during Saturday’s ceremony.
“We are extremely excited about the Plant Growth Research Facility, which will expand our already strong plant biology research at the University of Missouri,” Daubert said. “The facility will bring great opportunities for new and exciting research, unique collaborations and aid in the recruitment of premier faculty and students.”
The new facility will feature 22,880 square feet of research greenhouse space, broken into 24 compartments. Some of the greenhouse modules will have a plant growth height of up to 21 feet, 6 inches, which will be the tallest on the MU campus. There will also be 9,385 square feet of space for controlled environment plant growth chambers. The facility will include seed storage and drying rooms as well.
Those who attended during Saturday’s celebration had the opportunity to sign the ceremonial construction beam for the project and visit with MU students, researchers and staff. The beam will be on display at the Bond Life Sciences Center.