Okaw Valley Agricultural Complex

Okaw Valley CUSD #302 | Bethany, Illinois
<h2>Okaw Valley Agricultural Complex</h2>

While agriculture education is nothing new, a dedicated facility with the ability to house livestock on a rural campus in the Midwest is a surprising anomaly. The Agricultural Complex is the only one in Illinois — and one of a handful in the United States — to hold that distinction. With an already thriving program, the planning of the facility and its location needed to be tightly knit into other district programs, such as athletics and general education. A key consideration was also the ability to expand program offerings in the future, through enlarged facilities and features which could include on-site gardens, crops or additional livestock support.

The complex offers a flexible design that is intentionally minimal, budget-friendly and ideal for future-ready, hands-on learning. A livestock chute in the lab allows animals to be held for vaccinations, tagging, health inspections, general hygiene and care. The animal ward offers a flexible design that allows students easy access to the lab and outdoor areas. The design features a built-in watering system, unfinished floors, high ceilings and sliding barn doors. The only downfall? No matter what, it still smells like pigs. But the students don’t seem to mind and most of them head straight to the ward to check on the animals before classes.

  • 5,296 Square Foot Agricultural Facility
  • One-Acre Plot
  • Student Capacity of 47
  • Designed for Program Expansion
  • Flexible Furnishings
  • Lab Spaces
  • Award of Distinction, Exhibition of Educational Environments: IASB/IASA/IASBO 2019 Conference
The Challenge

The future farmers and agribusiness leaders are frequently taught in regular classrooms or modified shop rooms without access to the tools and resources they need.

The Solution

Small but nimble, the Agriculture Complex offers a flexible design that is intentionally minimal, budget-friendly, and ideal for 21st-century, hands-on learning.

"I have been able to expand what and how I teach because of this structure. I have the resources I need right here, so I can teach more efficiently and more effectively."

- Wes Wise, District Agriculture Teacher, Okaw Valley CSD #302

Details that make a difference.

Primed for future expansion, the design offers ample lecture, lab, storage and livestock housing space to accommodate a thriving agriculture program.

Features such as an operable partition between the lecture and lab spaces, a clear, open lab that can be washed down, and mobile furniture offer another level of flexibility for the building to evolve with the program.