South Carolina State University’s 1890 Research and Extension Program held a groundbreaking ceremony last week to celebrate the construction of a new building in Charleston.
The new facility will house paid and volunteer staff who, in conjunction with university stakeholders, will design, implement and deliver programs in the areas of:
• Small farm
• Natural resources
• Adult and community leadership
• Family life and nutrition
• 4-H and youth development
• Community education
• Life-long learning opportunities
• Technology programs and services
The purpose of the building is to provide programmatic and administrative space to ensure comprehensive and structured delivery of research-based programs designed to enhance the economic, educational, social and physical well-being of the participants.
The concept of the project began during an internal assessment conducted in 2001 by the leadership of the 1890 Program.
Members of the program determined that the program did not have adequate programmatic or administrative spaces.
The team submitted an 1890 Facility Grant Request to the U.S. Department of Agriculture and National Institute of Food and Agriculture to build 1890 Research and Extension centers in the state of South Carolina.
The Charleston building is one of three buildings in the works. The facility for S.C. State's campus was approved in 2001 and the Camp Daniels facility was approved in 2002.
The initial meeting for the Charleston facility included Dr. James Walker, former 1890 program executive director; former mayor of Charleston Joseph P. Riley Jr., and Delbert Foster, current associate administrator of 1890 programs. The meeting took place in 2003 and the building was approved the same year.
After presenting the community benefits of the 1890 program and requesting that the university receive a donation of land to build the facility, the 1890 programs team received full support from Riley and Charleston City Council.
John Tecklenburg became mayor of Charleston in 2016 and continued to support the project. During the groundbreaking, he spoke of unity.
"With all of the tragedies that have taken place, it's important to come together. What better opportunity than this to knit these communities together?" he said.
Foster, who had been working to bring the project to life since the beginning, said "It took quite some time, but we persevered through the changes and challenges of the university as a whole.
“As an alum, a downtown Charlestonian and a member of the 1890 team, I am so excited to see this day. He (God) may not come when you call him, but he is right on time.”
"We're thankful for Mayor Tecklenburg, the Charleston City Council and their dedication to help make it all happen. We would also like to thank all former and current federal, state and local representatives, university board of trustees members and the greatest alumni in the world for their strong and sustained support over the last 16 years,” he said.
Recently appointed 1890 Executive Director Dr. Louis Whitesides said, "The Coastal Research and Extension Center in Charleston is a tangible reminder of the charge of 1890 Research and Extension, which is to inspire a lifelong passion for learning, develop the capacity of individuals and groups of all ages through their actions, elevate the capacity of communities and to improve their quality of life. This new facility is a bold reflection of commitment and solidifies that commitment to this region.”
The building is scheduled to be completed in September of 2020.
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