UArizona Campus Agricultural Center district listed on National Register of Historic Places

aerial view of the university of arizona campus agricultural center with the santa catalina mountains in the background

The University of Arizona Campus Agricultural Center is a 160-acre research, teaching and extension facility located three miles north of the university’s main campus at the intersection of Campbell Avenue and Roger Road in Tucson. A district within the center has been added to the National Register of Historic Places.

Arlene Islas/University Communications

Following a two-year nomination process with the Arizona State Historic Preservation Office, the University of Arizona's Campus Agricultural Center district has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places. 

Administered by the National Park Service, the National Register of Historic Places is the official federal list of districts, sites, buildings, structures and objects significant in American history, architecture, archeology, engineering and culture.

The university began working with the Arizona State Historic Preservation Office in September 2021 to officially nominate a historic district within the Campus Agricultural Center, located three miles north of the university's main campus at the intersection of Campbell Avenue and Roger Road in Tucson.    

The nomination encompassed nine contributing buildings and the associated agricultural open spaces on the property west of Campbell Avenue, which represents the historic core of the original 80-acre parcel purchased by the Arizona Board of Regents in 1909.

A sense of place, a history of preservation

As a state entity, the university adheres to the provisions of the State Historic Preservation Act of 1982, and the Arizona Antiquities Act of 1960.

The university takes pride in its stewardship of historic properties, explained Ed Galda, who serves as the university's Campus Planner and Historic Preservation Coordinator – a role established in the early 1980s and appointed by the president to coordinate the university's preservation activities and projects with the Arizona State Historic Preservation Office.

"We have many projects of varying scales each year that involve historic buildings or properties," he said. "And we consult with the State Historic Preservation Office on a regular basis regarding a wide range of projects involving properties listed on or eligible for the National Register, but National Register designations are not that common."

The latest designation places the Campus Agricultural Center district among a distinguished list of nationally registered historic places on the university campus, including: 

  • University Indian Ruin Archaeological District, listed in 2012
  • Bear Down Gym, listed in 1989
  • Campus Historic District, listed in 1986
  • Smith/Cannon-Douglass Houses, listed in 1982
  • Arizona State Museum, listed in 1979
  • Old Main, listed in 1972
  • Desert Laboratory on Tumamoc Hill, listed in 1966

A hub for innovation, community-centered education

Originally acquired in 1909, the Campus Agricultural Center serves the university's evolving land-grant mission to deliver new knowledge and technologies to support our region's social, environmental, and economic resilience, explained Mitch McClaran, director of the Arizona Experiment Station.

As part of the national network of Experiment Stations established under the Hatch Act of 1887, the 160-acre research station on North Campbell Avenue has played a critical and unique role in advancing purpose-driven science and education in areas as diverse as food security; energy and water use efficiency; veterinary medicine; biotechnology; human health and wellness; as well as animal, plant, fungal and microbial food production.

"Arizona is poised to become a global leader in arid land agriculture and climate resilience," McClaran said. "The Campus Agricultural Center and the larger Arizona Experiment Station system work to support solutions to water scarcity and crop stress to help communities in the arid Southwest weather unprecedented heat waves and drought. We envision that our future will continue the tradition of engaging the community in our research, teaching and outreach activities."

The center houses a variety of sites and resources, including the Agricultural Research Center, animal science teaching facilities, the Controlled Environment Agriculture Center, the College of Veterinary Medicine Equine Center, the Food Product and Safety Laboratory, greenhouses, the Tucson Village Farm and Pima County Cooperative Extension.