A new office building addition and renovation will be in the future for the University of Minnesota West Central Research and Outreach Center. Construction on the addition is tentatively scheduled to begin in spring of 2009. Included in funding is the renovation of the existing WCROC office complex. The addition and renovation will enhance WCROC's agricultural and renewable energy research and demonstration systems while providing critical outreach and educational space.
"As the West Central Research and Outreach Center approaches its 100th anniversary in 2010, the new building addition and renovation demonstrates the commitment of the University of Minnesota and the College of Food, Agriculture, and Natural Resources to the citizens of the region." Jerry Wright, interim station head, continues by saying "The joint missions of the WCROC and Regional Extension Office in agricultural and rural research and outreach will be greatly enhanced by the new and renovated facility. In addition to the upgraded office and educational space, the facility will be a demonstration and research platform for renewable energy and green building technologies further enhancing our efforts in this emerging field. We not only want to be a leader in renewable and green research, but also want to lead by example."
The built environment in the United States accounts for over 40 % of the nation's energy consumption. The new addition and renovation will feature energy efficient design and technologies coupled with the potential for renewable energy. Green buildings also include healthier and more productive environments for employees and visitors. The design will open the building up to bring in additional day lighting and will provide quality indoor and outdoor space for professional interaction. In addition to expanded office and work space, the addition will include a new conference / multi-purpose room. The 1970 era office building will be made handicap accessible in order to accommodate all audiences.
The administration building houses the University of Minnesota West Central Research and Outreach Center staff and the Regional Extension Office, two distinct branches of the University. The WCROC provides leadership in the generation and dissemination of agricultural and rural research. The Regional Extension Office provides access to a wide variety of research and education programs through extension educators and specialists in Morris and across the University of Minnesota system.
The 2008 Minnesota Legislature and Governor approved $2.2 million in state bonds for the addition and renovation. In addition, the University will add $1.1 million for a total project cost of $3.3 million. The construction project is tentatively scheduled to start in the spring of 2009.