AgriLife Construction Enters Home Stretch
Construction is nearing completion on the Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center of Dallas with move-in scheduled for Fall 2018. But in the year since ground was broken, extension scientists' work has been ongoing, as well, carried out in other campus buildings prior to the highly anticipated opening of the flagship facility.
In keeping with the extension's focus on improving the sustainability of urban living through responsible use of natural resources, Dallas Center scientists have conducted extensive research that will speed the development of more water-efficient, heat- and cold-tolerant, and disease-resistant turfgrass varieties. That has included both the development of the first sequence-tagged high-density genetic map of any warm season turfgrass and the breeding and commercialization of several low-input and sustainable turfgrasses, intended for the American south and southeast (to aid in drought resistance) and the transition zone (to stimulate water efficiency). The new center's flexible, state-of-the-art labs and offices rivaling those of the top corporate crop-science research facilities can only help advance this and the center’s other important research.
The architecturally significant presence of the new building, planned and designed by Flad in partnership with architect of record VAI Architects Incorporated, is expected to have a positive effect on the center’s brand and identity, boosting education and outreach efforts. Those efforts have also continued since construction began, with the Dallas Center's Water University program passing 500,000 individuals served with courses on water protection and conservation. Meanwhile, the center's Urban Water Program has expanded, with the center-directed construction and proliferation of rain barrels saving millions of gallons of water, reducing thousands of pounds of non-point source pollution and saving residents tens of thousands of dollars on their water bills.