COLORADO dairy businessmen Dick and Eddie Robinson, brothers who lead Robinson Dairy of Denver, Colo., have donated more than $500,000 to Colorado State University (CSU) for use in a major renovation of the university's Animal Sciences Building.
The gift is the largest private donation so far to the $13.4 million project, which will overhaul the 56-year-old building that houses the CSU department of animal sciences, its offices, laboratories and classrooms.
In December 2011, the board of governors of the Colorado State University System set the stage for building upgrades with the approval of $7.5 million in bonding for the project, meaning the university must attract nearly $6 million in donations to complete renovations.
Fund-raising is approaching the halfway mark, department head Kevin Pond said.
In January, about 70 graduate students, faculty and staff members moved out of the Animal Sciences Building and into temporary offices on campus. Asbestos abatement is under way in the building; demolition will begin in April, and construction will start shortly after that. The renovation should be completed in spring 2014, Pond said.
The project will provide state-of-the-art laboratories and classrooms and will feature an atrium with a gathering space and conference room named for the Robinsons. The updated building, totaling nearly 42,000 sq. ft., promises to be a showcase for the largest department in the CSU College of Agricultural Sciences, a department with about 800 students and programs in equine science, meat science and farm animal welfare.
The Robinson brothers graduated from CSU with degrees in animal science in the early 1950s. After serving in the U.S. Army, they took over their fourth-generation family business and got involved in Colorado's agricultural and business circles.
Dick and Eddie Robinson have retired from their posts as co-chief executive officers of Robinson Dairy, but they maintain offices at the Denver headquarters. Dean Foods, based in Dallas, Texas, has been the parent company of Robinson Dairy since 2001.
A second phase in the Animal Sciences Building's transformation, which has not yet been scheduled, will include construction of a large auditorium, new food innovation center and a new meat laboratory, among other highlights.