In the last decade, the College of Agriculture and Ag Alumni Association transformed 30 acres of pastureland and dilapidated buildings in the heart of campus into a beautiful park for students, alumni and the community.
The lake, pavilion and Red Barn make Ag Heritage Park an ideal location for alumni gatherings, educational outreach, student events and community functions.
To complete the final addition of the complex – an Agricultural Education and Alumni Center on the north side of the park – an estimated renovation cost of $1.5 million needs to be raised.
The center, which would occupy the same architectural footprint as the former dairy barn, would provide space for teaching, alumni activities and industry outreach, as well as educational areas honoring the past, present and future contributions of agriculture to society.
The new facility would sit atop the hill at Ag Heritage Park, overlooking the new lake and Alabama Farmers Pavilion. It would provide much-needed classroom space for the College of Agriculture as well as an area for faculty and alumni activities. It would house educational displays and serve as the gathering point for campus tours, agricultural field trips and industry outreach functions.
With the Red Barn and Farmers Pavilion, the new center would position Ag Heritage Park as the premier meeting and event complex on campus. More importantly, it would help preserve Ag Heritage Park as a community green space that recognizes the agricultural heritage of Auburn University and the importance of farming.
Thanks to donated materials and the work of the College’s Agricultural Land and Resource Management team, the initial phase of the renovation is almost complete.
Built in 1929, the original Dairy Barn’s two wings contained two rows of 12 stanchions used as holding pens for milking activities. A small area off the connecting breezeway housed areas for straining, cooling and handling the milk. After each cow was milked, the buckets were manually carried from the milking area to the scales. As one former student commented, “the milking process gave you a real workout.”
This facility was used as a milking barn until 1948 when a new research unit was built in North Auburn; however, teaching activities continued on site for many years.
In 2005, Dr. Amy Wright, associate professor in the Horticulture Department, worked with students to design appropriate landscaping that can be “re-invented” each semester as an ongoing outdoor design laboratory.
Another student-centered work project took place in early 2009 as the AU Design Build Masters Program developed plans for renovation of this structure. Possible uses include a retail area, classrooms, and meeting facilities. As part of the process, students worked with Ag Land & Resource Management crews to gut the west wing of the Dairy Barn, reroof and stabilize this section until the next stage of this project is funded.