Agricultural Engineering

The records that appear subsequent to the completion of the Agriculture-Science Building in 1966 describe several initiatives, which have added on to the original structure.  A metal working laboratory consisting of 3600 square feet of space was added to the engines and farm equipment shops of the Agricultural Engineering complex in 1971 to accommodate more emphasis on testing materials, welding, forging, foundry work and metal fabrication.  The removal of these facilities from the old  Industrial Arts Building to the north of Ag Sci allowed the old labs to be revamped to accommodate more woodworking benches and equipment for a new course in plastics technology.

The summer of 1978 saw the beginning of planning for a 15,850 square foot addition to the Agricultural Engineering complex to replace the antiquated facilities then located in the Industrial Arts Building which was originally constructed in 1930.

The Industrial Arts Building, which was built on the hill immediately to the north of AgSci, was a formidable old barn-like structure with a large imposing doorway for bringing in machinery.  The north side of the building faced an electric water spray fountain on the student center mall.  The switch for turning the fountain pump off or on was located in the building and could be controlled by faculty members, such as Earl Gilson, who reportedly took pleasure in sending one of his students out to give the fountain a kick. Earl would simultaneously throw the switch and watch as a host of puzzled students on the mall scratched their heads over the mystery of the fountain that responded to a student’s kick.

The Industrial Arts Building was razed in the late 70’s when the new Agricultural Engineering Addition was nearing completion.  Several senior faculty members petitioned the university administration in a “don’t drop the shop” plea to retain the old building for use as a heated parking facility.  There was no response to their request.

The new Agricultural Engineering facility addition was completed in the winter of 1980-81 and included two classrooms, a welding lab, a woodworking lab, an electricity lab, and a 30 station drafting and surveying laboratory with special drafting tables complete with drafting machines.  The equipment was designed for use by right or left handed users, and had equipment accessible to handicapped individuals.


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