A new day for Central State

By Alissa Paolella, University Writer
Posted May 04 2023
A group of people stands under a tent with a pile of dirt in front of them. They are holding shovels in preparation to break ground on a new research facility at Central State University.

Research facility construction underway 

The campus was full of invigorated minds on April 28 as Central State broke ground on a 40,000-square-foot research facility. In fact, “Innovation is in our DNA™.” Researchers, funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and other agencies, will seek discoveries in precision agriculture, food safety, and basic science.  

A 24,000-square-foot farm operation and storage facility will house researchers’ farm equipment, field offices, and maintenance operations for plots to research exciting innovations, such as specialized corn varieties, industrial hemp, aquaponics, beekeeping, and raspberries. 

The space will also permit future collaborations with corporate partners in agricultural sciences and technologies. 

“This is the beginning stage of an innovative landmark era that will include research laboratories, farms, bee colonies, collaboration spaces, storage space for equipment and vehicles, and, potentially, an animal science area,” Central State President Dr. Jack Thomas said. “Central State University aspires to be the premier Land-Grant institution in teaching, learning, and research that embraces diversity, equity, inclusion, and innovation in a global society.

“This research facility will solidify Central State as the hub of research and experiential learning for our faculty and students. The emergence of Central State as a Land-Grant University serving the citizens of Ohio is evolving. These facilities are only the beginning of Central State finally claiming its place as a premier 1890 Land-Grant institution in Ohio, the U.S., and globally.” 

The entire project is funded by the USDA and the state of Ohio as part of the annual allocation of resources to support the University’s 1890 Land-Grant mission. Since finally receiving 1890 Land-Grant status in 2014 after over 100 years of advocacy, Central State has benefited from millions of dollars in grants and public funding.  

The University has received a variety of public funding for current projects.   

  • The USDA awarded Central State with a $10,000,000 grant for “Sustainable Aquaculture Production of High Omega 3 Containing Fish Using a Novel Feed Additive.” The project is led by Dr. Brandy E. Phipps, principal investigator; and Dr. Craig Schluttenhofer and Dr. Krishna Kumar Nedunuri, Ph.D., co-PIs. Project goals include researching the potential use of hemp as an aquaculture feed, training and equipping new aquaculture producers, increasing local production of produce and healthy fish, and providing workforce training to Native American and African American graduates.  

  • The University received a $3,582,160 grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce for the Central State University Workforce Training and Business Development Center. The project is led by Dr. Morakinyo Kuti, with a team of faculty including Drs. Fred Aikens, Arunasalam Rahunanthan, Mahmoud Abdallah, Ramani Kandiah, Abayomi Ajayi-Majebi, and Sal Almestiri. The goal of the project is to establish a center that will inspire underserved communities in Clark, Greene, and Montgomery counties.  

  • A $599,982 grant for "Development of a Holistic Nano Photocatalytic Approach for Controlling Agriculturally Induced Algal Blooms and Associated Cyanotoxins in Lake" was awarded by the USDA. Dr. Ning Zhang serves as the project director. The goal is to build Central State research capacity for developing and expanding economically viable and environmentally compatible water treatment technology through developing advanced oxidation processes for microcystins destruction. 

  • The USDA also awarded a $597,461 grant for “Introducing Ergonomics Safety in Agriculture Production through Use of a Movement Studies Lab.” Dr. Kathy Carter serves as the project director. The project aims to expand exercise science research to include the ergonomics of farm safety and develop an ergonomics curriculum within the Exercise Science program.  

  • A grant worth $538,986 for “Fastrack Farming: A Training Program for Socially Disadvantaged and Military Veteran Beginning Farmers during the COVID-19 Pandemic” was also awarded by the USDA under project director Dr. Siddhartha Dasgupta. The project’s goal is to collaborate with community-based organizations in Ohio to train socially disadvantaged and military veteran beginning farmers to start and manage viable farms. 

For more information on Central State's Land-Grant mission, visit centralstate.edu/about-csu/1890-landgrant-university

A construction rendering of the new Central State University Research Facility

In addition to the groundbreaking, Land-Grant hosted an open house to showcase some of the many research advances by faculty and students at Central State. Use the arrows on the images below to view our photo gallery. 

Dr. Morakinyo Kuti

As a land grant university we have a responsibility to share the knowledge that we gain through our research and disseminate to improve the lives of citizens around the world.

Dr. Morakinyo Kuti
Interim Dean, John W. Garland College of Engineering, Science, Technology, and Agriculture, and Director, 1890 Land-Grant Programs