Students gather at computers in the JWCC Library

Orr Multipurpose Agriculture Facility Groundbreaking at JWCC Agricultural Center

Several JWCC trustees pose with shovels in new Orr Building groundbreaking session
August 25, 2021

The official groundbreaking ceremony of the Orr Multipurpose Agriculture Facility was held on August 24, at 10:00 a.m., at the JWCC Agricultural Education Center in Baylis.

The groundbreaking ceremony of the Orr Corporation Multipurpose Agriculture Facility showcases a 44-year educational partnership with the University of Illinois and John Wood Community College facilitated by the Orr Corporation.  This unique partnership offers research and educational components to serve the agricultural industry in Central Illinois and the Tri-State region.

Michael Elbe, JWCC President said, “Today is a defining moment for our region.  Over 100 people were in attendance to commemorate the groundbreaking including community members, key stakeholders and donors.  This new facility will expand the offerings and present more opportunities to bring in other agencies and organizations to make a greater impact in our rural communities and the agricultural industry.”

The Orr Corporation is leading this privately funded project; $1.7 million of the $2.2 million target goal has been raised to date. Construction of the 24,000 square foot facility will begin this September at the JWCC Agricultural Education Center and the U of I Agricultural Research and Demonstration Center in Baylis, IL.  The facility will house offices and classrooms, an exposition/arena space and an animal care unit designed for short-term or temporary housing for the welfare of animals. The building will address multiple agricultural education and development issues in West Central Illinois and will further enhance research, teaching and activities throughout the region.

Matt Bradshaw, Orr Corporation Board Chair shared, “Groundbreaking on this facility epitomizes the Orr Corporation’s 40+ years of dedication to agriculture research and education. We look forward to John Wood Community College, University of Illinois and numerous other local and state groups use of this facility to improve our rural communities.”

Key stakeholders from around the region participated in the groundbreaking ceremony and several provided additional comments:

From Dean Kim Kidwell, College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences, University of Illinois: “Reaching the groundbreaking stage on the multipurpose building is a true cause for celebration. It’s also a shining symbol of how important partnerships are for serving West Central Illinois and beyond. I’m certain Agricultural, Consumer & Environmental Science (ACES) students, who are just starting an exciting new school year, also will celebrate how this next phase of decades-long partnerships around the Orr Center mean even more opportunities to expand teaching, research and outreach efforts in agriculture.”

From Brenda Middendorf, Executive Director, Two Rivers Resource Conservation & Development: “Two Rivers Resource Conservation & Development Area has supported the Orr Agricultural Research and Demonstration Center since its’ inception.  We are excited to see the Orr Research Center continue to grow and add value to our region.  The opportunity for students to have on-site, hand-on training will produce a much-needed workforce that will help our economy.”

From Shelby Crow, County Director, University of Illinois Extension Office Serving Adams, Brown, Hancock, Pike and Schuyler Counties: “This new facility will increase and enhance educational opportunities for ag students and community members. We look forward to many more years of this incredible partnership and the potential for Illinois Extension programs this new facility provides.”

Event speakers:

Michael Elbe, JWCC President

Matthew Bradshaw, Orr Corporation Board Chair

Dr. German Bollero, Associate Dean for Research, University of Illinois

Brenda Middendorf, Executive Director, Two Rivers Resource Conservation & Development

Jon Boylen, President of Brown County Farm Bureau

Nevin Grisby, President of Farmers State Bank / Gray Trust

McKayla Jennings, Illinois FFA Section 13 President

Larry Fischer, JWCC Board of Trustees

 

Groundbreaking shovel participants, pictured left to right:

Brock Willard, Compeer Financial

Carole Bradshaw, Orr Corporation

Lori Bradshaw, Orr Corporation

Matthew Bradshaw, Orr Corporation Board Chair

Mike Elbe, JWCC President

Mike Tenhouse, JWCC

Nevin Grisby, President of Farmers State Bank of Pittsfield & Gray Trust

Dr. German Bollero, Associate Dean for Research, University of Illinois

Larry Fischer, JWCC Board of Trustees


John Wood Community College is the educational link between business and community. JWCC collaboratively creates innovative and relevant academic and training programs with business leaders to educate young people and the workforce for today's needs and tomorrow's opportunities. JWCC has centers in Quincy, Pittsfield, Baylis and Mt. Sterling, Illinois. Programs include a comprehensive baccalaureate transfer curriculum, customized business training, career/technical degrees, certificates, and personal enrichment courses.