The UVM Horticulture Research and Education Center (HREC) is a 97 acre property that was purchased by the University of Vermont (UVM) in the early 1950’s. Located in South Burlington, VT, it has been the primary field laboratory for College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) applied research and outreach in horticultural and agronomic crops.
Over the past 70-plus years, the HREC has been a site for innovative and evolving research and teaching. However, the core facilities have not been significantly upgraded since the 1970’s, and require major improvements to meet the growing needs of new projects and partnerships, including the USDA ARS Food Systems Research Center.
After several years of planning, a master plan that was developed with UVM CALS, UVM Planning Design and Construction, and Black River Design Architects, was awarded a $481,756 grant from the USDA NIFA Research Facilities Act Program (RFAP). The project is entitled, Master Planning and Infrastructure Improvements for UVM Horticulture Research and Education Center, and the funding will support phase one and the start of phase two of the plan. Phase one involves the immediate construction of a flex-use research and teaching pavilion; phase two is the development of construction documents for a state-of-the-art laboratory and classroom building, to support agriculture researchers and instructors. The expectation is to break ground for phase one in 2024.
This grant is being matched by the Margaret Jenkins Pratt Horticulture Fund, which was established in 2023 by Harriet Pratt Peterson ’52 in memory of her mother, Margaret Jenkins Pratt.
“The Horticulture Research and Education Center (HREC) has been a critically important facility for CALS operations for over 70 years,” stated Plant and Soil Science Associate Professor and Chair Terence Bradshaw, who is also the HREC director. “Much of the infrastructure at HREC is original and has long been outdated for the increased uses that the farm has seen in recent years.”
Bradshaw continued, “This investment from the USDA and from our private donor partners will complete the first important phase in a long term master plan for upgrades to the facility. We look forward to building and using this 1200 square-foot multi-use pavilion which will serve important teaching and research uses on the farm. Just as important, this project will fund the development of buildable plans for phase two of the project, which will include a new classroom laboratory and office space that will bring HREC up to modern standards for conducting agricultural research and teaching activities.”