Centrally located on campus, the Estes E. Firestone Meats Laboratory provides many services. Its most significant service is to provide opportunities for student learning. Instructors teach animal sciences courses such as animal and carcass evaluation, retail meat cutting, and meats here. The processing floors provide a truly hands-on experience for students to learn proper USDA animal harvesting and processing procedures. In addition, the meats laboratory employs students who have the chance to learn details of the retail meats market. Lastly, the facility provides a place for local citizens to have their livestock processed to reinforce student learning. On-site federal inspectors oversee all aspects of the processing of beef, pork, and lamb. The meats lab basically funds itself with revenues generated from retail sales and processing.
Built in 1984, the lab was financed by a $350,000 grant from the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education and a generous private donor. The building carries the name of Estes E. Firestone, an OPSU professor emeritus of animal science. Dr. Firestone, a graduate of Panhandle Agricultural and Mechanical College (PAMC), came to campus in 1942 and retired in 1983. While here, he helped establish the school’s dairy program and herd, taught animal husbandry courses, and helped coach the livestock judging team. The building’s dedication occurred on October 27, 1984, and helped celebrate the institution’s 75th anniversary. January 3, 2009, saw the re-dedication of the building after the purchase of new equipment and extensive renovations to the retail counter area, office space, and classroom space. This celebration helped to mark OPSU’s Centennial year.