MOUNT VERNON, Wash. — Revitalization of Washington State University’s research and extension center here is a step closer to reality thanks to donations from the Northwest Agricultural Research Foundation (NARF) and Wilbur-Ellis Co. NARF has donated $100,000 to the revitalization effort; Wilbur-Ellis has contributed $10,000.
“These generous gifts represent another important step in our fundraising effort for the research and extension center at Mount Vernon,” said James Cook, interim dean of the WSU College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences. “NARF has been a friend and supporter of the center from the very beginning and is responsible in part for its success.”
A groundbreaking ceremony for the $8 million project approved by the WSU Board of Regents is scheduled for June 1. The revamp includes construction of modern, efficient work spaces for the five county agricultural and horticultural research and extension services currently housed in older, over-crowded facilities.
“We have been working with WSU for several years and applying pressure for the facilities at the center to be upgraded,” said John Roozen, president of the NARF board of directors. “As a board, we have been budgeting for our contribution to this project since the early 1990s. We’re all very happy the ball is rolling, and we look forward to the groundbreaking ceremony.”
Founded in 1944 by a group of concerned farmers, business leaders and elected officials, NARF has supported research to control harmful crop diseases and insects as well as significant advancements in cultural practices, plant fertility and soil management. That research is conducted in conjunction with WSU scientists in Puyallup, Prosser, Vancouver and Mount Vernon.
Representatives from Wilbur-Ellis’ Mount Vernon branch said they were happy to see their corporate office agree with the local recommendation to support the revitalization of the WSU Research Center.”We believe in the research work done at the facility and are happy to be part of a great project,” the office said in a prepared statement. “Our company hopes that this contribution will be a catalyst for other agriculture businesses in the five northwest Washington counties to do the same.”
Approximately $1.5 million of the total project cost will come from private donations. A committee composed of local citizens and WSU representatives is spearheading the fundraising effort.
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