TSU breaks ground on new agricultural biotechnology building

Wednesday, June 6, 2012 at 1:46pm
Pictured (left to right) :Tennessee Agriculture Commissioner Julius Johnson, State Sen. Thelma Harper, TSU Interim President Portia Shields, Tennessee Board of Regents Chancellor John Morgan, National Institute of Food and Agriculture Director Sonny Ramaswamy, TSU Dean of Agriculture, Human and Natural Sciences Chandra Reddy and TSU Associate Vice President of Facilities Management Ron Brooks as they break ground on the new building.


Federal, state and Tennessee State University officials broke ground on a new agricultural biotechnology building Wednesday morning. The building, which is scheduled to be completed in the fall of 2013, is TSU’s first new building in six years.

“We hardly have the words because it’s been so long,” TSU interim president Portia Shields told the crowd.

The 30,000-square-foot building will cost around $7 million, which will be covered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The building will house a community garden, open-roof greenhouse complex, a design studio and other features for students in agriculture, biology, chemistry and family and consumer sciences.

Commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Agriculture Julius Johnson said the new building would help address issues with population growth and food supply in Tennessee.

“This is about feeding my grandchildren,” Johnson said.

Dr. Sonny Ramaswamy, the director of the USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture, had a similar message of issues related to agriculture education and awareness. He called TSU’s new building “one more piece of the jigsaw puzzle” of addressing those needs.

According to Chandra Reddy, the dean of TSU’s College of Agriculture, Human and Natural Sciences, the department has added 20 new doctorate level scientists in the past two years. Enrollment in the college program has also increased, Reddy said.

4 Comments on this post:

By: NewYorker1 on 6/7/12 at 8:53

WHAT! No one got shot during the groundbreaking?

By: slacker on 6/7/12 at 11:02


By: PillowTalk4 on 6/7/12 at 11:12

I thought this level of ignorance only existed with Tennessean posters. Apparently not. Anyway, CONGRATULATIONS TSU in expanding your programs to enhance the educational goals of your students and to serve the people of our communuity and country. I hope to see more and more of these growth and development stories about TSU.

By: govskeptic on 6/8/12 at 7:41

How many students had shown any interest for this Agricultural program prior
to receiving the Federal Funding for this building? While it may be 6 years since
the last new building was erected, there was a time under Gov. McWherter
when TSU got most of the state's higher ed capital improvements for 8 yrs!
These comments are in no way meant as a slam at TSU, but just to question
the funding and true need under the "Agriculture" banner! When built we
can only wish them great success for this specific program.