Adding Some Class

A student's design dresses up a corner of the Ag Building

The redesign of the corner of the Ag Building at Hitt and College adds stone walls, benches and flower and tree landscaping.

No one ever accused the poor Agriculture Building as being a Mizzou design icon.  For its 50 year history, the bland and windowless building was derided as Sam’s Slab Lab, the Fortress and the Federal Reserve Bank.

The structure recently gained a little respect, aesthetically.  A redesigned landscape was unveiled earlier this month perking up the building overshadowed by the MU Student Center and Brewer Field House.

The landscaping at the corner of Hitt and College was as bland as the new Ag Building was in 1960.

The design was the work of a Plant Sciences student, Justus Lacewell, who in 2008 won a competition sponsored by Dean and Vice Chancellor Tom Payne and Pete Millier, director of MU Landscape Services. Nine students studying landscape design work competed to dress up the Ag Building.

The students approached the project just as any design landscaping company wanting the contract would.  They surveyed the location to get a feel for how the area is used, evaluated design characteristics of the Ag Building and nearby structures and interviewed clients to determine their likes, dislikes and expectations.  They also consulted with MU Campus Facilities to understand campus requirements.  Of course, they created an accompanying budget for their project.

Lacewell’s design shows what the corner will look like once the trees have matured.
Justus Lacewell.

Each student presented their designs to a three-person evaluation panel of John Glenn, a MU landscape architect, Kristen Smarr, CAFNR communications director, and Plant Sciences assistant professor Mary Ann Gowdy.

The design was given to MU Landscape Services for implementation.

“The designs ranged from simple to elaborate,” Gowdy said.  “Most of the designs had trees and bushes and many incorporated a patio or benches.  Rollins and Hitt has become a major gateway to campus and the students want the area to be aesthetically inviting and a pleasant, green place to gather.”

Lacewell’s design features a large terraced area that transitions the building, virtually sitting on a small hill, to street level.  The terrace also gives students a place to sit.  A walkway connects the street side sidewalk with Conservation Hall at the School of Natural Resources.

The landscape renovation was implemented over the past year, and is designed to feature natural color all four seasons of the year.

Vice Chancellor and Dean Tom Payne formally dedicates the landscape redesign.

Organizations and people who donated to the landscape renovation:

Atkins Building Services and Products

Joe and Janice Blackburn

Gary Bohn and Bohn’s Farm and Greenhouses, Inc.

Teresa Braeckel

Dave Brakhane and Pleasant View Landscaping

Chuck and Ina Rae Brazeale

Mr. and Mrs. Stephen Dredy Crapo

Midwest Block and Brick, Inc.

Dave Fore

Wayne Lovelace and Forrest Keeling Nursery

Greenleaf Nursery Company

Rob Johnson

Al and Linda Kennett

Phillip Kerr and family

Ethel Klenc

Marc Linit and Sue Hollingsworth

Scott and Lisa McWilliams

Lowell D. Miller

Roger and Joyce Mitchell

Vernon Pauley

Tom and Alice Payne

Mr. and Mrs. Leroy Rood and Pea Ridge Forest Tree Farms

Shirley A. Richardson

Allan & Marla Rohrbach

Tim and Toby Rost and Rost, Inc.

Bill Ruppert

Mr. and Mrs. Hubert Loring Schilb

Bill Spradley and Trees Forests and Landscapes, Inc.

Mr. and Mrs. Bruce A. Wylie

Pat Cunningham, Darcy Wells, executive director for advancement at CAFNR, and Jill Findeis, director of the MU Division of Applied Social Sciences, talk with Ethel Klenc (in hat). They are sitting on a bench donated by former CAFNR dean Roger Mitchell.