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Agronomy Building (Keim)

Vital Statistics






Olson Construction Co.



Also Known As:

Keim Hall; Plant Sciences Hall

The Agronomy Building was the first large academic building constructed on the farm campus following World War II. Financed by the post war Building Levy passed by the Legislature in 1947, it represented an upswing in the University's fortunes following years of depression era and war time deprivation. The Agronomy Building was considered to be sophisticated and elegant at the time it was constructed, with state of the art laboratories and modern amenities.

Linus Burr Smith, chairman of the Dept. of Architecture at the University, became active in assisting the University in the development of new buildings during this era. Smith was appointed to the Board of Regents Building Committee, and it was not unusual for him to develop preliminary plans for building projects before an architecture firm was retained. Smith developed the plans the Agronomy building in 1949, and was involved in the selection of the architects. He informed the Regents in 1949 that only four architecture firms in the state were capable of designing the building; three weeks later Steele, Sandham, and Steele were hired to complete Smith's preliminary plans.

The Agronomy Building is constructed on a steel frame with a buff brick exterior, Virginia greenstone decorative panels separating the windows, and brown marble enhancing the entry area. The building originally provided six classrooms, three conference rooms, a large lecture hall, and numerous offices. When completed, the building brought together for the first time the largest department in the University.

In 1957 the Agronomy Building was renamed in honor of Franklin D Keim, longtime department chair who retired in 1952 after the construction of the new building was completed. In 1978 a large addition housing Plant Sciences was constructed immediately north of Agronomy and linked to it with hallways.

Source Information:
Bd or Regents minutes, 1949-50. Omaha World-Herald, June 27, 1952.