WSU President to Help Dedicate New Research Orchard at Wenatchee

WENATCHEE, Wash. – Elson S. Floyd, Ph.D., Washington State University’s new president, will be the featured speaker at the dedication ceremony for the university’s new tree fruit research orchard southeast of Wenatchee on Thursday, Sept. 20.

The dedication begins at 10 a.m. at the new orchard, which is located approximately 20 miles southeast of Wenatchee off State Highway 28 on Sunrise Lane SW. President Floyd will discuss the value of research in helping to keep Washington competitive worldwide.

Other participants include Jim Doornink, chair of the Washington Tree Fruit Research Commission; Dan Bernardo, dean of the WSU College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences; and Jay Brunner, director of the WSU Tree Fruit Research and Extension Center at Wenatchee. Also attending will be John Gardner, WSU vice president for economic development and extension, and Linda Kirk Fox, WSU associate vice president for extension.

When the Washington State Tree Fruit Research and Extension Center was founded 70 years ago, it literally was out in the middle of nowhere. Gradually, though, the city of Wenatchee has grown up around it, leaving little or no room for expansion.

Because of encroaching housing development, the university sold 70 of its 100 acres in Wenatchee to the Wenatchee School District three years ago. The school district bought the land for future expansion, so WSU has been able to maintain its research orchard here for an agreed upon period of time.

The WSU Tree Fruit Research and Extension Center office, labs and shop will remain on the 30 acres still owned by WSU in Wenatchee. The new site includes 150 acres of orchard property, 20 acres of highway frontage and 137 acres of undeveloped land. The WSU Board of Regents approved the purchase of Sunrise Orchard in March 2006.

“The new research orchard provides enough room in the right location to help serve the needs of fruit researchers – apples, pears, cherries, wine grapes and other small fruits – for years to come,” Brunner said.

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