Lincoln Land Community College shows off new agriculture center

Nathan Law

When Don Wienhoff, the trustee of the Kreher Foundation, starting meeting with Lincoln Land Community College personnel several years about how to utilize a gift, initial discussion centered around some scholarships, recruiting material and more classroom equipment. Wienhoff asked them ultimately to dream bigger. Officials cut the ribbon on that […]

Lincoln Land Community College officials cut the ribbon on the 19,750-square-foot, $7.5 million Kreher Agriculture Center on the east end of the Springfield campus on Thursday. The center honors the late Charles and Irene Kreher who farmed near Blue Mound. From left are Alexis Carroll, LLCC sophomore; Gordon Gates, LLCC board of trustees vice chair; Ken Elmore, LLCC board of trustees chair; LLCC president Charlotte Warren; LLCC board of trustee Craig Findley; LLCC board of trustee Wayne Rosenthal and LLCC board of trustee Jeff Fulgenzi. [Steven Spearie/The State Journal-Register]

When Don Wienhoff, the trustee of the Kreher Foundation, starting meeting with Lincoln Land Community College personnel several years about how to utilize a gift, initial discussion centered around some scholarships, recruiting material and more classroom equipment.

Wienhoff asked them ultimately to dream bigger.

Officials cut the ribbon on that dream Thursday, the 19,750 square-foot, $7.5 million Kreher Agriculture Center that provides cutting-edge technology to students, like combine and welding simulators and state-of-the-art classrooms and laboratories and features an animal science pavilion.

See also: Agriculture Center will be ‘showpiece’ for LLCC campus

“This is not what I remember a college building to look like,” joked Wienoff, a Springfield certified public accountant. “This is truly high tech.”

Demonica Kemper Architects, LLC, of Chicago designed the building. Hanson Professional Services, Martin Engineering Co. and Massie Massie & Associates, all of Springfield, were also involved with the project. Evans Construction Co. of Springfield was the general contractor.

Decorative elements in the building include reclaimed wood from a Sangamon County barn on several walls and “logs” used as informal tables, footstools or seats.

The project was funded by annual distributions from the Kreher Farm Perpetual Charitable Trust to the Lincoln Land Foundation. The trust has $18 million in assets.

Evelyn Brandt Thomas, center, jokes with Lincoln Land Community College board of trustee and former Illinois representative Wayne Rosenthal after LLCC officials cut the ribbon on the new Kreher Agriculture Center in Springfield. The 19,750-square-foot, $7.5 million state-of-the-art facility honors the late Charles and Irene Kreher, who farmed near Blue Mound. At left is Rod Stoll, vice president of marketplace engagement with Farm Credit Illinois. [Steven Spearie/The State Journal-Register]

The college’s 150 or so agriculture students also will be able to take advantage of CAD-based landscape design and drone technology. Horticulture classes can build and grow indoor landscape beds no matter the weather.

Classes and other activities will move into the building this fall. 

Bill Harmon, Lincoln Land’s longtime agronomy professor and Ag Club adviser, Thursday recalled those “dream bigger” recommendations at the outset and said he would put the facility up against any in the state.

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