The University of Georgia’s prestigious turfgrass management program has developed world-famous grasses for a wide variety of industries and applications; their turf can be found on football and soccer fields, in parks, on golf courses, and covering neighborhood yards. In addition to serving a $7.8 billion industry in Georgia and a $40 billion industry nationally, UGA views this program as one that “grows human experiences” – making it as much a calling as a science. The new Turfgrass Education and Research Facilities on UGA’s Griffin, Tifton, and Athens campuses position the University to maintain and enhance its leadership position in the turfgrass industry.

Supporting Turfgrass Management

Facing outdated and dispersed facilities on the Griffin campus, UGA partnered with Clark Nexsen to design a comprehensive new facility that integrates cutting edge greenhouse, headhouse, laboratory, and educational spaces. Supporting goals to recruit and retain the best faculty, students, and industry partners, the building features state-of-the-art technology and showcases the turfgrass research taking place at UGA. The design utilizes extensive glazing in the lobby, monumental stair, and break area to provide views to the greenhouses and research field beyond. In addition to its daylighting benefits, this feature supports UGA’s bi-annual Field Day, during which industry partners and donors visit the campus.

Encompassing greenhouses, a headhouse, multiple labs, a general purpose classroom, and faculty and TA office space, this 36,000 square foot facility streamlines the program’s operations on the Griffin campus. The research and education aspects of the program blend seamlessly and promote extensive hands-on learning opportunities. Architecturally, the building balances its location on a traditional campus with its function as a science and research environment. Featuring brick and glazing on the exterior, and clean, modern detailing within, the building aesthetic is the result of extensive teamwork to develop a solution that aligns with the campus context and functions at a high level for the end users.

In addition to the comprehensive Griffin facility, this project included a 10,000 square foot greenhouse and headhouse on the Tifton campus and a 6,000 square foot classroom, greenhouse, and headhouse complex on the Athens campus. All three facilities advance UGA’s turfgrass management program and enable scientists and students to engage in activities including breeding; seed cleaning, handling, and storage; propagation; threshing; cross breeding; and other research and processing activities.