A new green building for the Guelph Turfgrass Institute

“Now the space we have is functional, it’s practical, and comparatively speaking, it’s a bit more accessible”

It’s not just the grass that’s green at the new location of the Guelph Turfgrass Institute. The new building is green for future generations.

The new GM Frost Research and Information Center is located on a 17-acre property at 364 College Ave. E. Formerly located on a 300 acre property just around the corner at 328 Victoria Rd. S., GTI moved into its current space after its 25-year lease on the provincial land expired.

On Friday, GTI hosted an open house public field day, which took the groups on a tour of the facility and 14 research areas focusing on industry needs.

Sandra Stricker, communications and outreach coordinator at GTI, said the new facility was designed to be as environmentally friendly as possible.

“You see the exposed wood beams, we have LED lighting that turns on and off automatically, we have green roofs, and the water we collect is reused to flush our toilets,” Stricker said during a tour of the building.

Along with sustainable features, the new facility has a test garden that houses flowers sent from breeders around the world. There is also a laboratory for graduate students, a lecture hall and a classroom to have students from the diploma program in turf management on site.

Cam Shaw, Program Manager for the Turfgrass Management Program, said the former space only had a conference room. Having the classroom now creates new opportunities for students.

“I can have my diploma students here learning, and right next door there can be a massive conference for an industry event,” Shaw said.

Shaw adds that the old GTI building was much less sustainable and cost more to heat due to having 60-foot ceilings. The new sustainable GTI building is cheaper to maintain and is more conveniently located on campus.

“Now the space we have is functional, it’s practical, and in terms of comparison, it’s a little more accessible.”

A release from GTI said the current facility was largely funded by the Government of Ontario through the Agricultural Research Institute of Ontario (ARIO). 17 organizations and individuals also contributed to the project. The total cost of the facility was about $14 million.

Stricker adds that they are still raising money for a new maintenance shed and education building at GTI. The teaching building will be used to teach irrigation installation, machine maintenance and landscape design for turf and landscape design students.

“Right now they do a lot of their engine building in the classroom, which isn’t exactly ideal, you want a separate room for that,” Stricker said.

The new site comes during GTI’s 35th anniversary as a national leader in research, extension work and professional development. The facility is also the headquarters of the Ontario Golf Superintendents Association, Sports Turf Canada and the Ontario Turfgrass Research Foundation.

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