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January 29, 2014 — A facility that combines agricultural information and research and outreach courses from the University of Wyoming under one roof will be celebrated Tuesday, Feb. 4, on the Sheridan College campus.
UW President Dick McGinity is among speakers at the rededication of the Joe and Arlene Watt Agriculture Center. The program starts at 11 a.m. followed by a reception and tours.
UW, in 2012, received a $5.3 million appropriation from the Wyoming State Legislature to purchase, renovate and expand the center. A new research greenhouse was part of the construction.
The facility brings together programs offered in Sheridan by the Outreach School, Agricultural Experiment Station, UW Extension, Student Services and Manufacturing Works. The center was purchased from Sheridan College in 2012.
“UW Outreach School will take advantage of better facilities and more powerful academic and professional collaborations,” says Reed Scull, the school’s associate dean. He said the partnership will result in better educational programming for residents in Sheridan and northern Wyoming. The Outreach School offers 40 degree and certificate programs.
The Adams Ranch south of the Watt building has been leased from Whitney Benefits, a nonprofit foundation in Sheridan, to Sheridan College and subsequently subleased to UW to integrate UW and Sheridan College cooperative agricultural and horticultural programs.
The center houses the Sheridan Research and Extension Center, which is supervised by the Agricultural Experiment Station (AES) in the UW College of Agriculture and Natural Resources.
“UW has one united presence rather than several different locations throughout the community,” says Bret Hess, associate dean of research in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources and AES director. “There is no need to send anyone to different locations to get their questions answered.”
The location also gives students more opportunities to interact with UW researchers and faculty members, Hess says.
Scull says an agroecology program now being developed lets Sheridan College students take advantage of the laboratory facilities, faculty members and other resources associated with the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources and the research and extension center.
UW Extension, which moved from its location in the Sheridan County Courthouse, has several new assets to offer residents, notes Scott Hininger, extension educator.
“We now have a dedicated classroom, a great teaching kitchen and access to a greenhouse,” he says. “These three new developments will greatly enhance our education delivery to the people of Sheridan County and surrounding area.”
The Joe and Arlene Watt Agriculture Center at Sheridan College is home to several University of Wyoming resources. (UW Photo)