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Feldman, Jim / The buildings of the University of Wisconsin

Biochemistry,   pp. 151-153

Page 151

Fig. 1. Agricultural Chem-
istry Building from the
southeast, just visible at the
left of the picture is the
i     t                                         -  1939 addition. [series 9/3
K''                                                   Biochemistry, x25-6365]
h-xz r
Biochemistry was built to alleviate the severe crowding in agriculture hall in 1912. It
was added to in 1939, 1957 and 1984. A further addition is planned for 1996. The
building is significant for a number of brilliant scientists ( including Babcock,
Elvehjem, Steenbock, Link and De Luca) who worked there. The building was placed
on the National Register of Historic Places in 1985.
B 1910 agriculture hall was on the path previously followed by science hall, that of spawning
myriad disciplines and departments needing space and special accommodations outside the
parent building. Agricultural engineering, horticulture, plant pathology and agronomy, had
already left their cradles in Agriculture Hall and moved into specialized facilities nearby. In his report
to the regents in 1909-19 10, president Van Hise says: "A consideration of the laboratory space in the
central agriculture hall leads Dean Russell to conclude that agricultural chemistry and bacteriology
cannot possibly be accommodated for three years longer."'
Dean Russell's report (written in October 1910) shows the magnitude of the space problem. In
Agriculture Hall for agricultural chemistry and bacteriology there was lab space for 30 students and
locker space for 83 for courses which the sophomore class was required to take. Advanced work had
facilities for only four or five. Russell proposed the construction of a fireproof central unit for agri-
cultural chemistry, to contain offices, classrooms, a large (350-400 seat) auditorium, and a laboratory
wing with space for at least 150 students at a time, and including space for special work and research
labs. Russell proposed that the building be planned for additions in later years as conditions de-
manded. He argued that the space released in Agriculture Hall could be remodelled and used for
bacteriology. Russell estimated that the new building would cost about $60,000- $75,000, and the
remodelling in Agriculture Hall for bacteriology about $2,500.2
The college of agriculture under Russell had considerable clout both in the university and
legislature, so it is not surprising that by April 6, 1911, the regents include on their wants list of new
educational buildings, an Agricultural Chemistry Building at an estimated cost of $90,000. Most of

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