MARYVILLE, Mo. — Northwest Missouri State University, the Maryville R-II School District and community members celebrated the completion of a new farm manager’s house at the university’s R.T. Wright Farm on Sept. 4.
The project was a collaboration between the university and Northwest Technical School’s building trades program for high schoolers, who built the new house. Jim Husz, the university’s full-time farm manager, will occupy the new home, which replaces a 45-year-old house on the property.
Members of the university community, the school district, community members, state legislators and members of the Greater Maryville Chamber of Commerce turned out on the sunny afternoon for the ribbon cutting.
Prior to the ribbon cutting, Northwest President John Jasinski touted the progress being made at the farm with not only the completion of the farmhouse, but as part of an ongoing process to expand educational opportunities at the site. Currently, the university is actively raising funds for an $8.5 million agricultural learning center to allow for research and scholarly activities centered on crop, soil and livestock resources, as well as processing agricultural products. The 29,000-square-foot, multi-use building would also include space for public and private functions like producer and agricultural industry meetings, shows, workshops and career development events, and the promotion of agricultural literacy.
“We know where it’s been the last several decades, where it’s at today and where we are going to take this in the future,” Jasinski said. “We’re all in on the School of Agricultural Sciences.”
Jasinski said less than $2 million still needs to be raised to full fund the new project, which already includes private donations and $2.5 million form the Missouri General Assembly approved last spring.
At the ribbon cutting event, State Senator Dan Hegeman and State Representative Allen Andrews were awarded plaques from the university for their work in advancing agriculture education initiatives in the state legislature.
Through an additional $1 million investment, a new road connects the farm to the U.S. Highway 71 entrance, and Northwest is working with MoDOT to add turn lanes on the highway for traffic safety. New signage, fencing and landscaping will also added.
In addition to the new agricultural learning center, the university’s latest list of funding requests to the state included a $5.76 million request to construct a new 15,500-square-foot ag mechanics building that go along with a new study emphasis area. The request was not at the top of the university’s capital requests, however, and is unlikely to be part of the university’s FY 2021 state funding package. But it does give an indication of plans for further development of agricultural education programs at the university.
With an enrollment of 665 students, Northwest has the largest agricultural business program in the state, the university said in a press release.