URBANA, Ill. – As new methods of instruction and analysis dramatically change teaching and research in crop improvement, students at the University of Illinois in the crop sciences and natural resources and environmental sciences departments will soon have the opportunity to learn in a more modern space in Turner Hall. A recent gift from AgReliant Genetics will make the complete renovation of an outdated lecture hall into a state-of-the art instructional space possible.
“The University of Illinois has always been an excellent source for both plant breeding research and agronomic training,” said Dr. Tom Koch, AgReliant Genetics vice president of research. “AgReliant Genetics is excited to play a part in this project by creating a unique learning environment for students and developing a closer relationship with the university.”
Plans for the new centrally located first floor lecture hall feature modern electronic and presentation capabilities. New lighting and furniture will also be added to the tiered room, one of Turner Hall’s most heavily utilized spaces.
The upgrades will replace outdated technology and furnishings first added when Turner Hall was built in 1963. No significant educational upgrades have been made to the facility since its construction.
“Turner Hall is the center for agricultural research and education in crop and soil sciences at the University of Illinois,” said Robert Hauser, dean of the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences. “This project allows us to transition from today’s outdated traditional classroom to a state‐of‐art space that is critical to our goal of remaining a premier university where learning, discovery, and engagement are enhanced by the very spaces in which those goals occur.
“The renovated space will enhance the learning environment and enable students to visualize the rewarding careers in agriculture that await them,” he added.
Design of the space is underway, with construction planned for 2017.
Turner Hall is named for Jonathan Baldwin Turner who was instrumental in establishing the University of Illinois and the Morrill Act, which created land grant universities. The Turner Hall Transformation Project is renovating all teaching laboratories and classrooms in the building. The project has met over 80 percent of its fundraising goal of $5 million. These private gifts help leverage campus-based funding, now totaling an additional $16 million, bringing the total investment in Turner Hall classroom/teaching lab renovations to $21 million.