The University of Georgia broke ground Nov. 15 on the site of its new Poultry Science Complex in Athens, Ga., with Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp and other dignitaries in attendance, according to a university press release.
Gov. Kemp and College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES) Dean and Director Nick T. Place spoke to a crowd of about 150 people, which included members of the University System of Georgia Board of Regents, Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black, and dozens of other government and industry leaders.
The governor, who has been vocal in his support of agriculture in Georgia, said the building is “the next step in securing another century of excellence in teaching, research and extension at the University of Georgia."
“To recruit, train and empower our future farmers, researchers, scientists and leaders in agribusiness, any good harvest we hope to reap in the Peach State depends on their ability to innovate, produce and lead in their respective fields,” Gov. Kemp said. “This new poultry science building will help the university accomplish this for generations to come.”
The estimated $54.1 million project will increase the size of the CAES department of poultry science’s existing facilities to more than 70,000 square feet, modernizing instructional and lab space; providing centralized, student-focused facilities; and helping to attract and retain world-class researchers. Construction will begin in spring 2022, and completion is set for fall 2023.
According to UGA, the project will dramatically increase capacity for instruction, research and collaboration supporting Georgia’s multibillion-dollar poultry industry, the largest sector of the state’s No. 1 agriculture and agribusiness industry.
“This facility is going to impact the way that poultry science is taught and researched not only here at UGA but also on the national and international stage,” Place said.
State funding of $23.9 million has been provided for the design and construction of the project in the fiscal year 2021 and 2022 budgets.
A goal of $27 million in private funding has been set for the project. To date, lead donors of $1 million or more to include the R. Harold and Patsy Harrison Foundation, Wayne Farms and the Luther & Susie Harrison Foundation. Other contributors include industry leaders such as AgGeorgia Farm Credit, the Franklin P. and Arthur W. Perdue Foundation, Aviagen, CBH International, Claxton Chicken, Crider Foods, Crystal Farms, the Georgia Poultry Federation, Columbia Farms of Georgia/House of Raeford, Merck Animal Health and Southeastern Minerals.