The Department of Agriculture at Southern Arkansas University looks forward to opening a new shop that will expand programs and services to students.

According to a press release, Dr. Jeffry Miller, department chair, said the shell of the shop has been erected but the interior remains to be finished. SAU Agriculture students will help complete the building, adding shelves and walls. The new shop will be used to teach three shop classes, an agricultural mechanics methodology class and, in the future, a food science laboratory.

The 6,250 square-foot metal shop building is expected to be finished by the end of the fall semester. It is attached to and encloses the covered pavilion behind the Agriculture Building.

“The unique thing is that this facility will incorporate a food science lab,” Miller said. “Food is the ultimate endpoint for agricultural products, and has become a priority in high school agricultural science.”

The food science curriculum will be aligned with high schools. “Safe handling of meats, vegetables and dairy products will be taught,” Miller said. “We can teach pre-service agricultural education students to be competent in a food science lab when they become teachers themselves.”

Welding, agricultural power, and structures will be moved from the existing agriculture shop adjacent to Childs Hall to the new facility.

“We require our students to take a mechanics class. The knowledge they gain in these mechanics classes will stay with them for the rest of their lives.”

The new shop is designed for maximum flexibility and storage. SAU Physical Plant served as general contractor on the project.

SAU’s Agriculture program reflects the complexity of the industry that provides food to the world. It seeks to construct, integrate, expand and disperse knowledge to all students in a positive and safe learning environment.