You could say that the HDR-designed Agricultural Sciences Building (AGRS) at the Utah State University (USU) College of Agriculture and Applied Sciences has been 150 years in the making. The new LEED Gold facility has been built off the tradition of the land-grant mission signed by Abraham Lincoln in 1862, which established our system of land-grant colleges to further the education of and outreach to agricultural communities and industries.
Opened in February 2012, AGRS is designed to encourage agricultural research and collaboration among researchers, faculty and students. Labs are modular, flexible and mostly open—a stark contrast to the dark, rigid and cloistered spaces found in the previous facility. Daylight integration was a vital part of the design, and a new, central atrium in the laboratory block now brings natural light into the center of the building.
Maximizing human health and safety was another priority, as agricultural research typically involves a variety of hazardous compounds. To ensure that exposure to chemicals and other pollutants are minimized, a variety of entryway and exhaust systems and wall construction techniques were used to limit their spread. HDR also established an Integrated Pest Management Policy under LEED’s Innovation in Design/Operations category to maintain a comfortable and healthy environment that reduces human exposure to harmful chemicals and toxic pesticides.
Furthermore, all interior flooring, coatings, adhesives and composite wood products contain low amounts of VOCs. The building’s structure, enclosure and interior elements were constructed using materials with 26.1 percent recycled content, and an additional 13.44 percent of materials were sourced within the local region.