Multispecies Animal Learning Center

At a ceremony Jan. 30, Ohio State University broke ground on the $52 million Multispecies Animal Learning Center, which will advance student learning and workforce development in animal agriculture. 

The College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences will build the state-of-the-art facility at Waterman Agricultural and Natural Resources Laboratory on the Columbus campus, a project Ohio Farm Bureau supported funding for in the last state budget.

Ohio State President Walter “Ted” Carter Jr., who spoke at the groundbreaking on his 30th day on the job, said, “Agriculture is critically important, not only for states like Ohio, but for our nation and our world.”

The MALC will facilitate education in essential STEM fields and will foster workforce development for diverse careers such as animal sciences, engineering, food science, human nutrition, and health. Inside the facility, students will have opportunities to gain hands-on experience with swine, equine, poultry, cattle, sheep and goats. The public will have a chance to learn about modern livestock production with tours; a viewing area into the animal barns; and interactive, educational displays.

“This is a game-changer for us. It is integral to our vision for Waterman and will be a world-class facility that brings people and animals together for hands-on learning, engagement and programming,” said Cathann A. Kress, Ohio State vice president for agricultural administration and dean of CFAES. 

As an expansion of the original MALC project, a new, modern dairy will also be constructed at Waterman to replace the aging dairy facility. It will feature robotic milking technology and the latest in precision dairy technologies, feed systems and waste management. The new dairy will meet educational and research needs, with a projected completion date of winter 2025.

CFAES is actively fundraising while moving forward with MALC construction, with opening expected in fall 2025. At present, $16.4 million has been secured, including a $10 million investment from Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine and the General Assembly allocated in the state budget and a $4 million commitment from Nationwide received in November.  

The new multispecies center will bolster Ohio State’s ability to offer interdisciplinary teaching and research opportunities. Additionally, it will provide space for Ohio State University Extension and youth development programs, such as 4-H and FFA, and their events.

Photo caption: At the groundbreaking ceremony in January for Ohio State University’s $52 million Multispecies Animal Learning Center were, from left, Chad Jester, vice president, corporate citizenship & president, Nationwide Foundation; Cathann A. Kress, Ohio State vice president for agricultural administration and dean of CFAES; Ohio State President Walter “Ted” Carter Jr.; Devin Fuhrman, Nationwide chief agriculture and sponsor relations officer; and Adam Sharp, Ohio Farm Bureau executive vice president. 

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