Modernization of the Tarleton agricultural center

By: Deandre Hogg

Associative Producer

Tarleton State University is known for being one of the most productive Agricultural colleges in the state. Recently, Tarleton had some renovation and modernization work done to the Agriculture Center off-campus that was recognized by a construction publication a couple of weeks ago.

This the progress picture of the agricultural center going through the modernization and renovation work after the 2016 tornado.
Photo courtesy of the Tarleton State University Agriculture page.

The new design came after a devastating tornado went through Stephenville in the spring semester of 2016 badly damaging the animal and plant sciences center. The Agriculture Department had shut down operation at the center for a year and the building underwent some major changes to help evaluate the students’ learning and skills.

Agriculture Center Manager Zhan Aljoe and Dr. Stephen Damron, the Department head of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, both expressed their happiness for the new center and the exposure it is receiving.

Stephen Damron, department head of agriculture and environment sciences at Tarleton. 
Photo courtesy of Tarleton State University.

“We are very proud to have the design of the new Animal and Plant Sciences Center building for its design and construction. It points out that a great deal of care and collaboration went into the design of the building, which says something very significant about the importance of agriculture to Texas and the subsequent importance of education about agriculture,” Aljoe and Damron said.

When asked about how special the new design of the center is and how it compares to the other colleges, both gentlemen claimed the center was more for the student performance and success while attending Tarleton than competing with other universities. 

“The value of Tarleton’s new Animal and Plant Sciences Center is not found in how it compares to other Texas colleges,” Damron said. “Rather, it is about how it fulfills the needs of students in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Science programs.”

Damron thinks the facility is perfect for Tarleton’s College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences programs. 

“It has put us in the position to compete with the best of the best in providing quality educational opportunities and to grow and expand our programs,” Damron said. 

The center has more labs and tools for each student to use for their respective work or research as well.

Zhan Aljoe the Agriculture Center’s farm manager.
Photo courtesy of Tarleton State University’s staff directory.

“The center has seven state of the art laboratories to support our educational programs. Our students have access to equipment that much larger universities are unable to provide their students,” Aljoe said. “The Purple Tractor, our merchandising laboratory, offers the opportunity for our students to learn how to merchandise agricultural products produced at the Agriculture Center. The labs and the supporting covered animal working area and the four greenhouses serve as facilities for classroom use, and for faculty-directed student research.”

The new Agriculture Center keeps with tradition by keeping the new gates in the front of the entranceway.

“President Dominic Dottavio was the first to point out that we really needed new gates that matched the improvements and revitalization of the Ag Center. …We can now accommodate many additional students to a wonderful teaching environment, and we welcome many more guests to the Ag Center than ever. The new gates say that the Tarleton Agriculture Center is a special place. They were designed using the gates on the main campus as the model, further serving to say that the Tarleton Agriculture Center is an integral and vital part of Tarleton State University,” Damron and Aljoe stated.

Tarleton is still working on improving the center and future plans are in place to improve the outside as well.

“Currently, there is fencing being constructed down Farm Road to match the entrance gates and to further highlight the Ag Center. We are also making plans to expand the presence of the Horticulture program at the Agriculture Center to include raised vegetable growing beds, demonstration gardens, teaching plots, etc. We continue the modernization of the Equine Center and the Meats Laboratory with several projects being planned,” Aljoe said.

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