Katie Smith, 334/844-5887


AUBURN -- A dedication for Auburn Universityıs Agricultural Heritage Park, a site devoted to the past, present and future of Auburnıs agricultural program, will be Friday at 4:30 p.m.

Martha Patterson, special projects coordinator for the AU College of Agriculture, says the project, which has been in the planning stages for the past two years, has been approved by the AU Board of Trustees.

The architectural firm of French and Associates of Columbus, Ga., has been hired to design the park and its facilities.

The park will be at a site off Samford Avenue in Auburn and the focal points of the development will be a building known as ³The Old Red Barn² and the universityıs former milking parlor.

Patterson says the barn -- built in 1929 -- is a landmark in Auburn and also is architecturally unique.

³It is built in a style that was common for its time, but is becoming more and more rare to find as these old barns deteriorate around the state, and it is well worth preserving,² she said.

The idea of developing Heritage Park was conceived by several College of Agriculture alumni and AU faculty members who are interested in preserving the Old Red Barn and also in finding a permanent site for college functions.

The barn, which will be renovated for historical and structural integrity, will serve as a visitorsı center and farm equipment exhibit area. In addition, the milking parlor site also will be restored and used an exhibit and meeting space, a place to promote Alabama food products and as a possible media/publications center.

Other improvements will be made to the area, which will encompass 17 acres upon completion. A pavilion will be built near the barn for open-air functions that will seat 250 people. And an amphitheater, complete with a covered stage and lighting and sound equipment, also will be developed at Heritage Park for outdoor performances and events.

³Heritage Park will become the site for all our special events, such as the Ag Roundup and Taste of Alabama Agriculture that we host each fall,² said Patterson. The area also will serve as an informal gathering place for agriculture alumni and friends during football season and reunions. Plenty of parking will be available at the area.

Patterson says the long-range plan for Heritage Park includes the development of fish ponds, a nature demonstration site to highlight the areaıs native plant and animal life and a walking trail that will encompass the nearby historic Old Rotation field and other historic and interesting sites related to AU agriculture.

³Now that the development of Heritage Park has been approved, the next step will be to raise money for the project,² said Chris Gary, director of development for the college.

A fund has been established through the AU Alumni and Development Office to receive donations for the $3 million cost of development of Heritage Park

³Donations, both monetary and in-kind, are desperately needed,² said Gary. Special fund-raising projects will be conducted and all levels of giving are encouraged.

In addition to monetary and in-kind donations, Patterson said the planning committee also is seeking information about the site.

³Weıre trying to dig up all the historical information we can about the barn,² she said. ³Anyone who has photos, stories or other information about the Old Red Barn or the dairy barn should get in touch with us!²

The public is invited to the site dedication ceremony, which will be held at the milking parlor located across from the AU Athletic Complex on Samford Avenue on Friday.

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CONTACT:Patterson, 334/844-3198; and Gary, 334/844- 1136 .