In actions that will strengthen two College of Agriculture academic and research programs, Auburn University’s Board of Trustees has cleared the way for construction to begin on a new, $2.9 million equine barn at the Auburn Horse Center on Wire Road and given the go-ahead for the final four phases of the Charles C. Miller Jr. Poultry Research and Education Center in north Auburn. The board approved both items at its November meeting in Auburn.
The Auburn Athletics Department is funding construction of the 10,000-square-foot horse barn, which will support both the national champion equestrian team and the equine science program in the Department of Animal Sciences.
“The new barn will be a tremendous asset to both the teaching and athletic programs,” equine science instructor Grey Parks said. “With access to more up-to-date facilities and features, our students will experience working in a setting that better reflects how equine facilities in the ‘real world’ are designed and managed.”
The new facility will replace the existing barn, one that has served Auburn animal sciences and veterinary medicine faculty and students since its construction in 1960 and has been home to the equestrian team since its beginnings as a club sport in 1996.
“These aesthetic improvements should enhance those important first impressions that visitors experience and help us attract more students with strong equine backgrounds,” Parks said.
The horse barn is the first of two phases of an equestrian facility improvements project trustees approved in February. The second phase of the project, estimated at $5 million, will add public restrooms and a support facility for the varsity team.
In its Miller Center–related action, the board authorized the selection process to begin for a project architect for phases three through six of university’s poultry research farm relocation initiative. The initiative involves moving the entire poultry farm unit from its longtime location off South College Street eight miles north on College, to the north Auburn campus.
Phase three of the relocation project calls for construction of a 13,500-square-foot processing plant that will be used for research, teaching and outreach purposes. Phases four and five will add several buildings, including two chicken houses, a hatchery, a necropsy lab, a breeding house and an aviary. The sixth and final phase will involve demolition of the existing poultry research farm. The vacant land will allow for expansion of the Auburn University Research Park.
The cost of the four final phases is estimated at $10.3 million. The College of Agriculture is currently raising funds toward that goal.
Development of the Charles C. Miller Jr. Poultry Research and Education Center began on the north Auburn campus in 2016, supported by a $2.5 million gift from Miller Jr.’s son and daughter-in-law, Charles C. “Buddy” Miller III and Pinney Allen. The complex currently encompasses the poultry and animal nutrition center and feed mill that opened on the site in 2012 along with three new units—one that houses the Auburn-based National Poultry Technology Center and two poultry houses that accommodate replicated broiler trials in poultry nutrition and management research—and a flagship administration and education facility that will open in early 2018.