High Plains Ag Lab Building Progresses
Construction is progressing on a new office and laboratory building at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln High Plains Agricultural Laboratory (HPAL) near Sidney.
The building should be completed this spring and a dedication is being planned for the Spring Crops Field Day at HPAL in late June, according to Gary Hergert, interim director of the UNL Panhandle Research and Extension Center.
Tom Nightingale, HPAL farm manager, said the building exterior is mostly complete and work is continuing on the interior and on sidewalks and improvements to the exterior area.
Ground was broken in August 2013 for the 2,800-square-foot building, which will provide office space, a laboratory, and an improved area for processing grain and forage samples. Individuals, foundations, and agricultural businesses stepped up to support the project and aA local building project committee and the University of Nebraska Foundation raised about $500,000 for the building. It replaces a 1940s-era structure that was part of the Sioux Army Ordnance Depot when the U.S. government gave the property to the university in 1970. The existing building will continue to be used for storage or lab space.
Chairman of the HPAL Building Project Committee is Keith Rexroth of Sidney, who farms in the area and whose father was one of a local development group instrumental in getting the ag lab started.
HPAL is a satellite unit of the UNL Panhandle Research and Extension Center. One-third of its 2,400 acres are used for dryland crop research and two-thirds is in pasture. The facility's mission is unique to the High Plains, a high-elevation, semi-arid crop region.
Communications Specialist, Panhandle REC
Feb. 25, 2014