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WCROC building renovation project nearing completion

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The WCROC's $3.3 million renovation project is on schedule, within budget, and should be even more energy efficient than previously planned. And thanks to a contribution from AgCountry, the building will feature a 160-seat auditorium that can be partitioned into two rooms for seminars and workshops.

"We've had some challenges," said project manager Doug Johnson, "but the wonderful contribution from AgCountry and with some other money has allowed Jerry (WCROC Interim Head Jerry Wright) to do some special things."

The renovation of the building, originally constructed in 1973, began this spring and is expected to be all but wrapped up late this year. It's planned to demonstrate renewable energy and green office building methods as well as provide a research platform for the WCROC and Extension Service.

Among the energy savers are a white, reflective roof, a full geothermal heating and cooling system, daylight light sensors and more efficient temperature controls. It's lead by example, Wright said, and AgCountry has been a solid partner for many years in promoting ag research, renewable energy and protecting the environment.

AgCountry and other donors have allowed the WCROC to purchase new furniture and better audio-visual equipment for the new building, Johnson said.

"You know how dreams are sometimes bigger than reality?" he said. "(Donors) have allowed us to realize the dream."