Mount Vernon research groundbreaking slated

MOUNT VERNON, Wash. — The public is invited to join the festivities at the groundbreaking for the new agricultural research and technology
facilities at Washington State University’s Mount Vernon Northwestern Washington Research and Extension Center.

The groundbreaking ceremony will be held on Wednesday, June 1, at 10:30 am on the grounds of the NWREC, 16656 SR 536 (old Memorial
Highway), Mount Vernon.  A reception will follow the ceremony, featuring displays of the center’s history of supporting agriculture.

Local supporters who have nurtured and contributed to the project to modernize and expand the aging research facility and broaden its mission will be recognized during the event.

Participants in the ceremony will include WSU President V. Lane Rawlins; R. James Cook, interim dean of the College of Agricultural, Human,
and Natural Resource Sciences; and Linda Kirk Fox, interim dean of WSU Extension.

The groundbreaking will symbolize the pending start of construction to demolish the 57-year old existing facility and construct a new 16,400
square foot research and administration building.  The new facility will house research labs and equipment, staff office and support spaces, and a
multipurpose auditorium with kitchen.  Plans also call for an additional 2,800 square feet in greenhouses.

Actual construction will start later in June following award of the construction contract. The project should take about a year to complete. The estimated cost to build the research and  administration facility is $4.5 million. When fully furnished and equipped, the overall modernization will total $8 million.

In early 2003, President Rawlins committed $6 million in funds to upgrade and expand the agricultural research facilities, and to expand the
station’s mission to serve a broader range of growers and commodities, particularly in Northwest Washington.

Additional funding to make the project a reality is coming from a $500,000 Skagit County infrastructure grant and private donations to the
WSU Foundation.

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