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MSU’s greenhouses are growing into the future

By Kim Ward

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Michigan State University has officially launched its effort to modernize its research greenhouse facilities supporting leading-edge plant research and education.

“MSU is a world-leading center for plant sciences research that drives innovation in the agricultural economy and addresses the impacts of a changing climate and emerging diseases, pests and contaminants,” said Phil Duxbury, dean of the College of Natural Science. “Well-controlled greenhouse environments are essential to maintaining MSU’s leadership in these areas and we are very grateful to Michigan’s political leaders, the board and MSU leadership for supporting these high-impact upgrades.”

Nine members of Michigan State University’s leadership team stand holding shovels in front of a short, wide mound of dirt for ceremonial groundbreaking.
MSU leaders, including Dean Phil Duxbury (far left), at the groundbreaking ceremony for the Plant Science Greenhouses. Credit Thomas Gennara

MSU’s Plant Science Greenhouses are a research and teaching hub for 70 faculty and 600 students in the colleges of Natural Science and of Agriculture and Natural Resources.

The renovations and additions have a project budget of $35 million and will include state-of-the-art environmental controls and energy-efficient LED lighting configured to external climate conditions. The project also includes a new headhouse, which will provide administrative and research space.

The greenhouses are one of two new infrastructure projects that broke ground in April. The other will yield an updated, state-of-the-art Dairy Cattle Teaching and Research Center. Both are critical to the future of Michigan food production and agriculture, officials said.

“Not only do these two facilities play a vital role in supporting our agricultural partners with cutting-edge knowledge, but they are crucial assets to develop the next generation of dairy industry and plant science leaders,” said MSU President Kevin M. Guskiewicz. “These much-needed facility enhancements will serve MSU students, scientists and stakeholders well into the future, and we are grateful to the Legislature and governor for their support.”

MSU President Kevin M. Guskiewicz stands in front of a lectern on stage with an ASL interpreter speaking to a seated audience.  There are also two signs on stage: one for the College of Natural Science and one for the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources.
MSU President Kevin M. Guskiewicz speaks at the groundbreaking event for the Plant Science Greenhouses on April 12. Credit Thomas Gennara

The new and renovated spaces will expand research capacity for MSU scientists in the colleges of Natural Science, of Veterinary Medicine and of Agriculture and Natural Resources, including research funded by MSU AgBioResearch.

The State of Michigan provided $53 million for partial funding of each project. Both projects received strong bipartisan support from Michigan’s agricultural community.

“These two projects are a testament to the power of collaboration, uniting stakeholders across multiple sectors to advance sustainability in plant science best practices and high-quality dairy production,” said Dan Kelly, chair of the MSU Board of Trustees. “These projects support our world-class scientists and students and empower them to work alongside the agricultural community, driving innovations that promote productivity and sustainability.”