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Tech In The Design Phase For Innovation Center At Shipley Farms

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
Tech In The Design Phase For Innovation Center At Shipley Farms

Tech’s College of Agriculture and Human Ecology has entered the design phase for a new Agriculture Engineering and Innovation Center to be built at Shipley Farms.

The structure will house state-of-the-art equipment used in agriculture to allow students to get hands on training. The building will also have classroom and lecture space. Dean Darron Smith said getting this structure built is essentially to the Ag program at Tech.

“We needed that type of structure to really push that program forward as technology increases, and we are Tennessee Technological University,” Smith said. “But as technology moves forward, we need to keep up with that. We are providing a turnkey facility for our students to be educated in.”

Smith said the Innovations Center project is being completely funded by donors. He said the department is also in the design phase of remodeling the headhouse section of the greenhouse. A headhouse is the work center of a greenhouse.

“We are going to double the size of the education space in there with the newest technology, and shuffle it around so it is strictly for students,” Smith said.

The headhouse provides an area to prepare plants for potting, transplanting or shipping. That project is being funded by a grant through the Appalachian Resource Commission.

Smith said the Innovation Center is on the top of his priority list.

“It needs to happen,” Smith said. “It’s the top of the top. Ag engineering and technology is very much a hands on type of degree. You know, working on tractors, flying drones, surveying. It’s very hands on. We need that type of structure.”

Smith said he also hopes to eventually replace an old dairy barn with a farm office on the property, but funds for this project have not been secured.

The new Agriculture Engineering and Innovation Center will be named the Warden Center after one of the donors Randall Warden.


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