Michigan State University

Dairy Cattle Teaching + Research Center

East Lansing, MI // 220,740 sq. ft.

Michigan State University (MSU) has engaged TowerPinkster, Prein and Newhof, and Curry-Wille Associates to design a new Dairy Cattle Teaching and Research Center (DCTRC) to replace the existing facility located at 4075 College Rd, Lansing, MI 48910. The new facility will allow MSU to take their existing herd from over 200 head to approximately 700 head of cattle on site. This project represents a generational step forward for the program to expand its mission of advancing dairy cattle teaching, research, and outreach.

The new DCTRC will expand and enhance the opportunities for the public to visit and get a better understanding of how the dairy contributes to both the economy and academic research. Visitors include scheduled tours of industry experts, local and regional school districts, and casual visitors from the local community. Along with external visitors, another goal of the DCTRC is to expose agricultural career options to MSU students who have not had exposure to these opportunities.

A major priority of the DCTRC is to become a flagship project for the future of farming. The future of farming is based on sustainable agriculture principles. This project will embed sustainable principles into all aspects of the project. One of the flagship features of the DCTRC’s sustainable approach will be to gather all manure on-site and convert it into methane at the Biodigestor sited on the existing dairy site. This will convert manure to methane, capture the methane, and then move it to the MSU T.B. Simon Power Plant. This will then be converted into electricity to serve the DCTRC as well as the rest of campus.

Other sustainable design features will include an overall move to electrification of the farm, including on-site photovoltaic generation, stormwater management, and reuse and integration of electric vehicle charging.

The design concept for the space is driven by the Visitor Center as the social core of the building. The Visitor Center services a wide range of programmatic functions including, pre-function space, milking parlor viewing, MSU Extension exhibition space, and large-group gathering space. This public-facing role creates a space that will need to have upgraded, high-durability finishes and will be the “high-design” space in the DCTRC. The Visitors Center will feel welcoming while focusing on the cows in the parlor. This space will have integrated display technology, flexible casual seating, and opportunities for large groups to gather. The classroom will work in concert with the Visitors Center. There will be a series of center-pivot door panels in the demising wall between the two spaces. This will allow for the separation of spaces when appropriate but then have the two spaces open up into a substantially larger space for special events. This flexibility will provide the DCTRC with the opportunity to develop future programs while still providing the mission-critical educational spaces that are needed.

MSU Dairy Half 1
MUS Half 2