Construction continues, but faculty and staff are moving in at the WSU Mount Vernon Northwestern Washington Research and Extension Center. Project manager Virgil Hanson says 95 percent of phase one of the $8 million revitalization of the NWREC is complete.
The project will provide modern, efficient workspace for the agricultural and horticultural research and extension center serving the five-county region, replacing old, outmoded and overcrowded facilities.
Employees are shifting operations to the offices and labs of the new Agricultural Research and Technology Building, the centerpiece of the makeover. The 19,000-square-foot facility houses administrative offices, research laboratory facilities, storage and an auditorium.
The first phase also includes construction of a 3,200-square-foot research greenhouse that is well under way.
The second phase is beginning. It includes demolition of old facilities and construction of a new parking area, installation of perimeter fencing and landscaping. Construction is expected to wrap up in late November.
Approximately $1.5 million of the $8 million budget is contributions from individuals, businesses and public entities in northwestern Washington.
According to Sue Christianson — chair of the fundraising committee comprised of local citizens and WSU representatives — the local agricultural community, including many longtime local farm families, is stepping up to support the facility, some with gifts of as much as $50,000 and $100,000.