Parkhill Smith & Cooper, and Fanning Fanning and Associates were selected to design the future USDA AMS Cotton Classing Facility located in Lubbock, Texas. The facility is the first classing lab to partner with an institution of higher learning- Texas Tech University. This agreement with Texas Tech University is a pilot partnership that will promote R&D opportunities with the Department of Agriculture and the Fiber and Biopolymer Research Institute at Texas Tech. The lab will also provide internships and long-term employment opportunities with the USDA following graduation.

The proposed 30,000 SF USDA Cotton Classing Laboratory is situated on Texas Tech University. The facility features a large reception area with museum-quality graphics and learning opportunities, large conference/classroom space, and food service area. The remaining non-lab space is composed of private offices, restrooms, and a break/training room. The interior perimeter of the lab space is to be constructed of insulated concrete forms (ICF) to mitigate moisture migration throughout the facility and to reduce the mechanical load required to maintain ASTM lab conditions. This is the first fully-automated cotton classing laboratory to be designed. This automation is crucial to provide timely and accurate data to the USDA and the individual producers in West Texas. A flex lab is also being provided to accommodate additional ASTM R&D and classroom space.

The facility utilizes state-of-the-art electronic controls for multi-faceted HVAC components. All systems were designed to maximize energy efficiency. Free cooling, heat recovery, daylighting, and condensing boilers are just a few of the sustainable design features of the building. The LED lighting and enhanced building automation also provide sustainable, energy-efficient design solutions.