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OAN leaders tour new Ag Complex at Chemeketa

Wednesday, October 7, 2020   (0 Comments)
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OAN leaders toured the active building site for a new Agriculture Complex at Chemeketa Community College on Monday. Situated on an 8-acre site at the southeast side of Chemeketa’s Salem Campus, the new complex will serve as an important hub for the surrounding agricultural community and industry with classroom space, a greenhouse, hoop houses, garden/farm demonstration fields, an ornamental yard, soil labs, and a beneficial insectary.

Participating in the tour were Jim Simnitt (Simnitt Nursery), Kyle Fessler (Woodburn Nursery & Azaleas Inc. ), Leigh Geschwill (F & B Farm and Nursery) and OAN Executive Director Jeff Stone.

The complex will include new indoor and outdoor facilities for Chemeketa Community College’s Agriculture and Horticulture Programs along with space for its partners, Marion Polk Food Share, industry consortia, and local school districts. Central to the development is a new 20,000 square foot classroom and partner building that will feature three community classrooms, a science lab classroom, a lab preparation room, two seminar/conference rooms, a student resource room, faculty offices and work area.

The community classroom space has an operable partition wall so it can be configured three different ways: three 30-person classrooms, two classrooms (one for 30 people and one for 60), or one large classroom with a 100-person capacity. These shared areas will enhance the overall spatial efficiency and create a culture of collaboration key for a vital community hub. 

The facility incorporates solar power, natural light, radiant heating/cooling and architectural design, thereby achieving a net energy consumption of zero. It is being built entirely with materials locally sourced from suppliers within a 60-mile radius of campus. 

In a future phase of the project, officials hope to construct a 60-foot-by-60-foot greenhouse comprised of four 30-foot-by-30-foot quadrants, so they can isolate unique grow operations for student learning.