Slideshow: Controlled Environment Agriculture Research Complex

View of the exterior of the conference center and office areas.
A view of the exterior of the conference center and office areas.
An exterior view from the south side of the research greenhouse complex on the left, and the production greenhouse on the right.
An exterior view from the south side of the research greenhouse complex on the left, and the production greenhouse on the right.
An interior view of one of the four production bays.
An interior view of one of the four production bays. This 5,000 square feet greenhouse bay is built to conduct research on strawberry or similarly short-statured crops.
An interior view of one of the eight research greenhouse compartments.
An interior view of one of the eight research greenhouse compartments, similar in size to traditional research greenhouse compartments, but outfitted with state-of-the-art heating, cooling, ventilation, lighting and shading components.
A view of the three Conviron growth chambers.
A view of three Conviron growth chambers. These three reach-in growth chambers and the adjacent walk-in growth chamber allow research teams to precisely control all environmental influences (except gravity!) to perform research on crop production that requires even greater environmental control than what is provided in the greenhouse itself.
A view of the fertigation room.
A view of the fertigation room. From here, precise levels of various plant nutrients are mixed and delivered to the individual greenhouse compartments.
A general wet and dry lab space.
A general lab space outfitted with ultra-low freezer, sample drying oven, autoclave and wet and dry lab space.
A hybrid-conference-ready meeting area.
A hybrid-conference-ready meeting area suitable for use as a classroom accommodating up to 100 people, and as a meeting/conference space accommodating up to 64 people.

From a seedling to a flower, a space has fully bloomed on the Waterman Agricultural and Natural Resources Laboratory located west of Kenny Road. The Controlled Environment Agriculture Research Complex (CEARC) is now open.

The $34.8 million project provides a platform for interdisciplinary research at the nexus of horticulture and crop science, engineering, entomology, plant pathology, food science, computer science, and human nutrition/health. The College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES) imagined the project more than five years ago, and Facilities Operations and Development began construction in September 2020.

The building offers dynamic platforms for hands-on teaching, outreach and engagement activities. It also allows researchers to control certain environmental factors like temperature and light, which will help them explore new methods for improving nutrient density and flavor in vegetables and fruits.

View the slideshow above to see the finished facility which opened in September 2022.