A Plant Industry Building was identified as an important university need in the 1922-24 Biennial Report, and in 1950 the Iowa State Daily listed it as one of several buildings being tentatively planned. By 1956, a Plant Industry Building was listed as a desperate need by the university, and finally, in 1963, the General Assembly appropriated funds for the project. Construction contracts were awarded in January 1965, and the building opened for use in the fall of 1967. The building provides facilities for both the botany and forestry departments at the Iowa State University. One of the more unique features of Bessey Hall is a greenhouse on top of the building that boasts the largest banana crop and seven varieties of carnivorous plants among its extensive flora at the State of Iowa. Bessey Hall is named for Charles E. Bessey, a former Iowa State faculty member and a noted research botanist. The model was completed by Kurtis Wolgast.