Arena For Learning

Iowa State University is home to an impressive, 30,000-plus square-foot arena and multipurpose learning center. Located on the south end of campus, the Jeff and Deb Hansen Agriculture Student Learning Center is no ordinary classroom.

The facility touts a 125-by-250 foot heated arena with seating for 1,000 people, heated animal holding areas and six climate controlled classrooms that accommodate up to 35 people each.

“The Jeff and Deb Hansen Agriculture Learning Center will be an invaluable asset for students to sharpen their skills working with, caring for and learning about animals,” says Wendy Wintersteen, dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

The Hansen Center officially opened in January 2014 and has been used by the Department of Animal Science to teach courses, labs and training programs. Other events, including the Iowa State University Tradition of Excellence Cattle Sale, the 20th Annual Block & Bridle Cyclone Classic and the Spring Block & Bridle Market Hog Show (pictured) also have taken place in the new facility.

The new facility provides the perfect learning environment for animal-human interaction. According to Marshall Ruble, agriculture research station superintendent and facility manager, the Hansen Center is focused on students and their activities university-wide. The versatility of the learning center makes it a great venue for student clubs, judging teams, outreach programs and other public events.

“The Hansen Center has greatly improved the success of our Block & Bridle events,” says Brady Zuck, senior in animal science. “The events run more smoothly due to the exceptional facilities, and our attendance has increased as well.”

The facility has become a competitive recruitment tool for Iowa State. The state-of- the-art technology and multipurpose features of the Hansen Center will create a lasting impression for prospective students. Additionally, the Hansen Center provides another opportunity to showcase current Iowa State students, clubs and agricultural partners across the Midwest.

“We are now the envy of agriculture schools across the country,” Ruble says. “With this pavilion we can offer students many learning experiences.”

The construction of the Jeff and Deb Hansen Agriculture Student Learning Center was made possible by the donations of more than 150 contributors. The Hansens are third generation family farmers and the founders of Iowa Select Farms, a pork production company headquartered in Iowa Falls, Iowa. The company employs nearly 1,000 Iowans in 46 counties and is known as the state’s largest pork producer and one of the most technologically and environmentally advanced in the country.

The Hansens are recipients of a 2014 Iowa State University Honorary Alumni Award. In addition to the Hansen Center, their support of the Jeff Hansen Iowa Select Farms Pork Industry Scholarship, Iowa Foundation for Agricultural Advancement Scholarship and the Animal Science Judging Endowment Campaign is transforming the educational experience for Iowa State students. They also have funded research, appeared as guest speakers on campus and hire Iowa State graduates.

“Deb and I were pleased to invest in the future of our state by supporting this project which enhances teaching in animal sciences and agriculture,” says Jeff Hansen. “This facility provides an invaluable learning environment for young people for both coursework and extracurricular events that build tomorrow’s leaders. The construction of the agriculture student learning center makes a compelling statement about the promising futures in animal agriculture and many related fields.”