Team makes new facility work

Mississippi State University Extension Service and the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station recently celebrated the grand opening of a new research and Extension facility in Raymond, Miss.

The new Central Mississippi Research and Extension Center will enhance research and educational programs in central and southwest Mississippi, said Charles Lee, MSU vice president of the Division of Agriculture, Forestry and Veterinary Medicine.

“This new center is part of a strategic network of research and Extension facilities that lets us focus uniquely on the special needs of each region,” he said. “The Central Mississippi Research and Extension Center will have program emphases in agriculture and natural resources, 4-H and youth development, family and consumer education, and community development.”

Plans for the 18,500-square-foot facility were initiated in 1996, when it became clear that a new center was required to accommodate expanding research and education programs. CMREC staff, who previously were housed in temporary offices, and research and Extension personnel from Alcorn State University will occupy the new center, which is located on the Hinds Community College campus. Staff at Hinds Community College will work closely with MSU on educational programs and special projects.

“This building represents a new level of cooperation and partnership among Mississippi State University, Alcorn State University and Hinds Community College,” Lee said. “It provides us with the opportunity to work together to improve the economy, environment and the quality of life for Mississippians.”

“Hinds Community College, Mississippi State University and Alcorn State University have worked very closely together for a number of years on numerous projects, including some of the most innovative projects in the country,” added Clyde Muse, president of Hinds Community College. “This center will be another step in that direction.”

Features of the central Mississippi facility include interactive auditoriums, distance learning centers and research laboratories.

“We're excited about this facility and what it will bring to this area of the state,” said Butch Withers, head of CMREC. “With this modern facility and its capabilities, we'll be better able to serve the citizens of central and southwest Mississippi.”

The $2.5 million center was built with bond money provided by the Mississippi legislature.

“We're grateful for the support of the state legislature in providing the funding that made the construction of this facility possible,” said MSU president Malcolm Portera.

Also speaking at the March 29 dedication ceremony was Alcorn State executive vice president Rudolph Waters. Special guests at the event included Rep. William McCoy, chairman of the Mississippi Legislature's House Ways and Means Committee, and Carl Nicholson Jr., president of the state's Institutions of Higher Learning Board.

Charmain Tan Courcelle is a Mississippi State University ag communications writer.

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