Manhattan Kansas State University's plans for a new Grain Science Center got a big boost from Cargill Inc.'s gift of $1 million.
Kansas State President Jon Wefald called it "an incredible, monumental shot in the arm to get this complex going."
The five-building, $60 million center is to be constructed in the next decade just northeast of the football stadium. The complex, which is to be financed half publicly and half privately, will include a feed mill, flour mill, a bioprocessing center, a conference center and a multipurpose teaching, research and baking building.
Kansas State's agriculture college already has an international reputation, said the college's dean, Marc Johnson. It is the only college in the world to offer undergraduate degrees in baking science and management, feed science and management, and milling science and management.
The new complex will make Manhattan an international grain science "mecca," Johnson said.
Wefald was equally enthusiastic.
"It will be unprecedented," he said. "This will be the best in the world."
Brendan Donnelly, head of the grain science and industry department, said construction will progress as funds are raised. So far $5 million has been raised from private donors, with groundbreaking on the first building expected in the next six to nine months.
The first four buildings may be completed in four or five years, Donnelly said. The teaching, research and baking building, the largest building in the complex, which will house classrooms, laboratories and offices, will be built last.
Warren Staley, the Kansas State graduate who is Cargill's chairman and CEO, said Cargill made the donation because the new facilities will help Kansas State attract research grants, as well as the best faculty and students.
Noting also that his company hires Kansas State graduates, he added, "We're very much looking forward to getting benefits from our investment."