Southwest Center building project on hold

Thursday, February 5, 2009

In addition to impacting University of Missouri Extension, Gov. Jay Nixon's proposed budget cuts will threaten the completion of 10 building projects across the state. One of those projects is a 13,000-square-foot addition at the Southwest Research Center in Mt. Vernon.

"We have a $3 million building project that we are about to begin construction on, and the funding for the project is on hold for review," said Richard Crawford, Southwest Center superintendent. "We already have expenses involved in planning and designing the building project. We just finished reviewing bids and were about to award the bid to the contractor. Now the project is on hold."

Sen. Jack Goodman, of Mt. Vernon, has pledged to work for continued funding for the Southwest Research Center's building project.

"The Southwest Center extension is a critical project for agriculture in our state, and we should move forward with providing the funding it requires," said Goodman. "It serves the interests of higher education, one of the most important facets of a prosperous Missouri, and agriculture, one of the most important industries in southwest Missouri."

The proposed budget cuts will also indirectly impact Southwest Research Center programs and projects.

"The 50 percent reduction in funding will not affect the Southwest Center directly, because this is not an Extension center," said Crawford. "This is an agriculture research center though, and we partner with Extension in so many ways."

Several projects conducted at the Southwest Center are supervised by University of Missouri Extension specialists. The future of those projects is unclear at this time.

"If funding is cut for Extension, it will have a devastating effect on projects here," said Crawford. "If we don't have the mechanism to get our research out to the people, our research will be compromised."

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