SAU Breaks Ground On Agriculture Center

Southern Arkansas University officials broke ground last week on the school's new $6 million Agriculture Center.

The 30,557-SF building will bring a lecture hall, classrooms, laboratories, faculty offices and a pavilion to the Magnolia university, SAU spokesman Jeremy Langley said.

The center replaces Childs Hall, a 13,240-SF 1940s-era building originally constructed as a barn. Langley said it had steep stairs, no handicapped accessibility and outdated laboratories. "We really needed this new facility," he said.

Childs Hall will remain in use after the construction of the center, which could be finished by the end of this year.

"Agriculture is at the core of our roots at Southern Arkansas University, and this new Agriculture Center will be one of our greatest investments in agriculture education since our founding in 1909," SAU President David Rankin said in a release. "We are excited about the possibilities that a facility like this can bring, and are thrilled to finally see this dream become a reality."

The center is part of SAU's Blue & Gold Vision plan, implemented in 2004. The contractor is CDI Contractors LLC, and the architect is Witsell Evans & Rasco, both of Little Rock.

Since 2004, about $73 million in construction and renovation work has occurred on the SAU campus.