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$43 million Shepardson project envisions ‘Ag and Ram spirit’

In a year that has already seen the opening of the Nancy Richardson Design Center, the deconstruction of Aylesworth Hall, the planning of Meridian Village and the groundbreaking for a new equine hospital, the revitalization of the Shepardson building is the next construction project to take place at Colorado State University. 

Shepardson, which houses the College of Agricultural Sciences, will undergo a largely state-funded $43 million interior renovation and expansion that is expected to conclude by the fall 2021 semester. The groundbreaking for the project took place Oct. 10.

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“Really, it becomes this great, convenient place for students at CSU,” said James Pritchett, dean of the College of Agricultural Sciences. “From agriculture’s perspective, it allows for us to tell our story a bit and be better to serve the industry.”

The building is currently in the design phase, but crews will soon mitigate asbestos in the building, and they plan to start construction around January 2020. 

“Sidewalks around the site will be open to the public and monitored for safe pedestrian access for the duration of the project,” wrote Milton Brown, facilities project manager, in an email to The Collegian. “Air quality will be closely monitored during all construction activities.”

“The new revitalization is trying to capture that Ag and Ram spirit while offering many new physical updates.” -Jordan Marsh, Ag Ambassador, College of Natural Sciences

Brown wrote that typical construction noise will be heard during the construction process and will adhere to the specific start and stop hours set by the City of Fort Collins. 

Pritchett said the expansion will provide space for a student success center, assistant deans for teaching and academic programs, student advising, a recruiter and the manager of student life and diversity.

“I feel like College of Ag students don’t really feel like they have a home on campus,” wrote Regan O’Donnell, president of the Ag Council, in an email to The Collegian. “I am excited that so much space is dedicated to the students — not only in the form of quiet study spaces, but in having an area for student organizations as well.”

One highlight of the renovated building will be a roundtable-style classroom in which the students surround the lecturer.

“Even though you have 180 students in that class, you’re never more than four rows from the instructor,” Pritchett said.

This style of classroom allows students to connect more with their professors and classmates as they are forced to face each other, Pritchett said. The hope is that this classroom will improve student engagement and performance. 

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All classrooms will feature moveable furniture to make learning more accessible and to accommodate special events.

“To be able to create a space where we can put all those support services together is just tremendous and will allow us to retain students because we’ve created a space for them to be successful,” Pritchett said.

Built in 1938, Shepardson is one of the last post-WWI buildings on campus funded by the Works Progress Administration, according to the revitalization planning program. CSU is the only university in Colorado that provides an agriculture degree and also conducts extensive research that benefits Colorado agri-business. 

“It’s going to be a home for agriculture in Colorado.” -James Pritchett, dean of College of Agricultural Sciences

“While the physical appearance of the building may have been less than perfect, the traditions and memories of that building are important to so many,” wrote Jordan Marsh, an Ag Ambassador for the College of Agricultural Sciences, in an email to The Collegian. “The new revitalization is trying to capture that Ag and Ram spirit while offering many new physical updates.”

Pritchett said the creative and innovative ideas related to agriculture will now be able to be hosted in Shepardson thanks to the project. 

“It’s going to be a home for agriculture in Colorado,” Pritchett said. 

Serena Bettis can be reached at news@collegian.com or on Twitter @serenaroseb

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About the Contributor
Serena Bettis
Serena Bettis, Editor in Chief
Serena Bettis is your 2022-23 editor in chief and is in her final year studying journalism and political science. In her three years at The Collegian, Bettis has also been a news reporter, copy editor, news editor and content managing editor, and she occasionally takes photos, too. When Bettis was 5, her family moved from Iowa to a tiny town northwest of Fort Collins called Livermore, Colorado, before eventually moving to Fort Collins proper. When she was 8 years old, her dad enrolled at Colorado State University as a nontraditional student veteran, where he found his life's passion in photojournalism. Although Bettis' own passion for journalism did not stem directly from her dad, his time at CSU and with The Collegian gave her the motivation to bite down on her fear of talking to strangers and find The Collegian newsroom on the second day of classes in 2019. She's never looked back since. Considering that aforementioned fear, Bettis is constantly surprised to be where she is today. However, thanks to the supportive learning environment at The Collegian and inspiring peers, Bettis has not stopped chasing her teenage dream of being a professional journalist. Between working with her section editors, coordinating news stories between Rocky Mountain Student Media departments and coaching new reporters, Bettis gets to live that dream every day. When she's not in the newsroom or almost falling asleep in class, you can find Bettis working in the Durrell Marketplace and Café or outside gazing at the beauty that is our campus (and running inside when bees are nearby). This year, Bettis' goals for The Collegian include continuing its trajectory as a unique alt-weekly newspaper, documenting the institutional memory of the paper to benefit students in years to come and fostering a sense of community and growth both inside the newsroom and through The Collegian's published work. Bettis would like to encourage anyone with story ideas, suggestions, questions, concerns or comments to reach out to her at editor@collegian.com.

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