The Bergland Laboratory is actually the result of a collaborative effort among UMC, the Northwest Research and Outreach Center (NWROC), and the Agricultural Utilization Research Institute (AURI). The building serves as a center for teaching, for applied student lab experiences, and for research in the botanical and horticultural sciences. The facility of approximately 17,500 square feet is linked to Owen Hall and the ARC via enclosed walkways and provides space and equipment for teaching and research.
Spaces provided within the facility include: environmentally controlled areas for commercial plant production; growth chambers; laboratories for chemical treatment of plants and studies in tissue culture, plant nutrition, plant pathology and photoperiodism; preparation and work areas; and storage.
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As UMC grew after it began offering bachelor's degrees in the early 1990s, it soon became apparent that existing greenhouses and plant science facilities were inadequate. UMC collaborated with the NWROC and AURI to develop a plan and to request funding for a facility that would support the needs of students, faculty, and researchers involved in horticulture, agronomy, and other plant sciences. The Minnesota Legislature allocated funding for the building project in the spring of 1996.
Construction on the facility (originally called the Controlled Environmental Science Building or CESB) began with groundbreaking ceremonies on May 23, 1997, and continued through March of 1998. The building was occupied that summer and grand opening ceremonies were held Wednesday, November 4, 1998.
The facility was officially dedicated Bergland Laborary on October 17, 2003. The UMC Honors Committee had identified Robert "Bob" Bergland as an appropriate person to honor because of his distinguished career in agriculture. Bergland, a lifelong resident of Roseau, Minnesota, had served as the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture during the Carter Administration (1976-1980). After serving with the Carter administration, Bergland served from 1981-83 as President of Farmland World Trade, an international trading arm of Farmland Industries of Kansas City. Two years later he was appointed Vice President and General Manager of the National Rural Electric Cooperatives Association and remained active in that post until retiring in 1993. In the 1990s he served on the board of numerous organizations including the National Center for Appropriate Technology, the Agricultural Utilization and Research Institute, and Ecology Action. Bergland was elected to the University of Minnesota Board of Regents in 1997 and served as its co-chair from 2001-2003.
The plaque on display in the building reads:
named to honor
Visionary leader, respected citizen of northwest Minnesota,
and friend to the University of Minnesota
and Crookston campus
U.S. Congress 1970-1977
U.S. Secretary of Agriculture 1977-1980
U of M Board of Regents Emeritus
Dedicated October 17, 2003
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