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Public Invited to Preview Mount Vernon Expansion

MOUNT VERNON, Wash. — Major changes are afoot at Washington State University’s Northwest Washington Research and Extension Center near Mount Vernon, and the public is invited to preview and discuss them at an upcoming open house.

The open house will be held Thursday, July 29, from 3 to 6:30 p.m. at the facility located at 16650 State Route 536 (Memorial Highway). Pete Jacoby, associate dean of WSU’s College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences, will be on hand to answer questions along with other WSU officials, the research staff, and the architects for the project.

WSU has committed $6 million for a major upgrade of the facilities at the center. Renovation plans for the 56-year old facility include replacing the current research and administration building with a new 16,400 square foot laboratory, office and multipurpose auditorium facility. An additional 2,800 square feet of new greenhouses are also planned, and the greenhouses and laboratories will use a modular design that will allow for future expansion.

“Along with the physical improvements to the facilities comes a major expansion of our mission,” said Debra Ann Inglis, interim director of the center. “We are transforming into a full stand-alone research center dedicated to serving the needs of agriculture for all of Northwest Washington.”

The new facility will allow for the doubling of the current research staff to a total of eight, and new or expanded research programs in small fruit horticulture, vegetable horticulture, entomology, water quality and agricultural economic development.

Construction is scheduled to begin in May 2005, with completion slated for June 2006.

The open house will include a general information session to discuss plans for the station at 3 p.m. The general session will be followed by breakout sessions at 4 p.m. to discuss specific issues. From 5 to 6:30 p.m., participants will have opportunities to walk the footprint of the new facilities, join a wagon tour of field trials, examine research program displays, tour the Skagit Display Gardens and discuss financing for the project.

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Media Contacts

Debra Ann, Interim Director, 360-848-6134