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New Jornada Experimental Range Building Dedication Set for Aug. 13

LAS CRUCES - The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Jornada Experimental Range's new $8 million headquarters building on the New Mexico State University campus will officially be dedicated on Aug. 13.

The new $8 million headquarters building for the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Jornada Experimental Range will officially be dedicated at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 13. The ceremony at New Mexico State University will be followed by tours of the 29,000-square-foot facility. (07/31/2002) (NMSU Agricultural Communications Photo by J. Victor Espinoza)

U.S. Rep. Joe Skeen is scheduled to make a short address. Skeen, former chair of the House agricultural appropriations subcommittee, championed funding for the project, along with U.S. Sen. Pete Domenici and other members of New Mexico's congressional delegation.

The program begins at 10 a.m. with an official welcome from Charles Onstad, director of the Southern Plains Area of the Agricultural Research Service. NMSU President G. Jay Gogue and Dean Jerry Schickedanz of NMSU's College of Agriculture and Home Economics, will present remarks, followed by updates on the science program by Edward Knipling, acting ARS administrator. Representatives for Domenici and U.S. Sen. Jeff Bingaman will also make brief presentations.

The morning program is scheduled to end at 11:30 a.m., and will be followed by tours of the facility.

The 29,000-square-foot building, which was occupied earlier this summer, is located on the western edge of NMSU, and is home to more than 50 staff members. Two-thirds of the Jornada's staff are federal employees and about one-third are NMSU staff, supported mostly by grant programs.

In addition, graduate students from the university collaborate on a number of research projects, primarily with NMSU's College of Agriculture and Home Economics. Scientists with the USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service also work in the new building.

The new facility is designed to help lay the foundation for better understanding of arid lands, said Kris Havstad, supervisory scientist of the Jornada Experimental Range. Construction on the mission-style building, which features a multilevel orange tile roof, began in August 2000 by Las Cruces-based Wooten Construction Co. It houses six laboratories, a small conference area, offices and a three-story atrium that gives the building a open, spacious feeling.

The Jornada Experimental Range, which includes some 193,000 acre, was established in 1912 to study management and remediation or repair of desert rangelands.

For more information, contact the Jornada Experimental Range at (505) 646-4842. If you are an individual with a disability who is in need of an auxiliary aid or service to participate, please contact Havstad before the event.