ATHENS, GA. — The University of Georgia recently broke ground on a new poultry science complex on its main campus in Athens, Ga.

The project is estimated to cost $54.1 million and will increase the size of existing poultry science facilities at Georgia to more than 70,000 square feet. The complex is designed to modernize instructional and lab space, provide centralized student-focused facilities, and help attract and retain world-class researchers. 

Construction will begin during spring 2022 and is scheduled to finish in fall 2023.  

“This is an exciting day for the University of Georgia and the thousands of Georgians who work in our state’s poultry industry,” said UGA President Jere W. Morehead. “The construction of the new Poultry Science Complex embodies UGA’s land-grant mission to support our state’s economy through agricultural research, education and outreach. We are grateful to our state government leaders and the generous donors who are making this vital project possible.”

The complex improvement will also support the college’s student recruitment efforts and expand youth programs like FFA and 4-H.

“We are elated for this facility to be a driver for developing new leaders in the poultry sector and its supporting entities, as well as a place to foster collaboration and innovation across disciplines to address the evermore complex questions facing the poultry sector,” said Todd Applegate, head of the CAES department of poultry science. “We are thankful for the trust and investment by public and private partners in making Georgia the epicenter of poultry sciences for the world.”

People who attended the groundbreaking included Georgia Governor Brian Kemp, Nick Place, dean and director of the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES), and about 150 people. Other dignitaries included the University System of Georgia Board of Regents, Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black, and dozens of other government and industry officials. 

“To recruit, train and empower our future farmers, researchers, scientists and leaders in agribusiness, any good harvest we hope to reap in the Peach State depends on their ability to innovate, produce and lead in their respective fields,” Kemp said. “This new poultry science building will help the university accomplish this for generations to come.”

Georgia state funding will provide $23.9 million for the design and construction of the project in the fiscal year 2021 and 2022 budgets.

In order to fund the remainder of the complex, $27 million in private fundings is expected to be raised through industry, alumni and donor support. 

To date, lead donors of $1 million or more include the R. Harold and Patsy Harrison Foundation, Wayne Farms and the Luther & Susie Harrison Foundation.

Also contributing to the project are industry leaders including AgGeorgia Farm Credit, the Franklin P. and Arthur W. Perdue Foundation, Aviagen, CBH International, Claxton Chicken, Crider Foods, Crystal Farms, the Georgia Poultry Federation, Columbia Farms of Georgia/House of Raeford, Merck Animal Health and Southeastern Minerals.