New LISD Agri-STEM Complex shows investment in the future of agriculture
By: Allen Ramsey
There's nothing unusual about Texas Tech's Davis College of Agricultural Sciences & Natural Resources investing in the future of West Texas. Since its inception, that's been a primary focus for the college. But a new collaboration with Lubbock ISD is a shining example of exactly how much impact a tier-one research institution can have on a city.
This week, LISD cut the ribbon on the new $10.5 million, 44-acre Agri-STEM campus for LISD students, part of a $130 million bond package approved by voters in 2018. Built on Quaker Avenue, just north of Fourth Street, the Agri-STEM complex will serve students from five LISD high schools and help prepare them to further their education or build careers within the agriculture industry. The schools include Monterey, Coronado, Lubbock High, Estacado, and Talkington School for Young Women Leaders.
“The need and the opportunity to engage students is more critical now than ever,” said Davis College Dean Clint Krehbiel. “The number of our traditional students is dwindling as the number of actual producers living and residing on farms and ranches is less than 2 percent of the population. So, the opportunity to engage communities and other urban centers like Lubbock will be more and more important to us.”
With Davis College research fields and rangelands all around, the Agri-STEM complex will offer LISD students the chance to see the high-level research being done by Texas Tech students and professors. Krehbiel believes the opportunity to engage with high school students will prove valuable to everybody involved.
This is the kind of facility that gets students excited about agricultural programs and then Texas Tech Davis College. “Even if they don't end up coming to Texas Tech – of course we want them to come to Davis College, be part of our program – we can help them understand what those career opportunities are and help them make connections to the industry,” he said.
Krehbiel also wants to build on the already existing partnership and find ways for the program to be even more beneficial for LISD and Texas Tech. “We're thinking about a partnership already in terms of what that might look like to give graduate students and student teachers the opportunity to come to this facility and get their feet wet doing lectures on agriculture, or even if it's more one-on-one building mentorship relationships,” he said.
The LISD students may be from urban backgrounds and not really understand what agriculture is about. Davis College students can help make that connection or be that bridge to those career opportunities, Krehbiel said.
CONTACT: Clint Krehbiel, Dean, Davis College of Agricultural Sciences & Natural Resources, Texas Tech University at (806) 742-2808 or Clint.Krehbiel@ttu.edu
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