By Tim Gardner
The latest in a marvel showpiece of public service facilities in Avery County will officially open soon.
Construction on a new agricultural building has been completed and its grand opening and ribbon cutting will be held at 12:00 noon on August 17.
The public is invited to attend.
The building is located at 661 Vale Road in Newland and will house the Avery County Center of the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service. The Cooperative Extension office will be moving from its old facility next to the Mayland Community College Avery Learning Center in Newland.
There will be a few brief remarks by dignitaries at the grand opening and ribbon-cutting ceremony. Those scheduled to give speeches include: North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service District Manager Kelley Heimstra; Avery County Board of Commissioners Chairperson Martha Hicks; County Manager Phillip Barrier; and Avery County Cooperative Extension Director Jerry Moody.
A tour of the building’s interior and exterior for all who want to see them will follow the ribbon cutting and speeches. Light refreshments will also be served for those attending, compliments of the Avery County Extension Service.
The new cooperative extension building will be a full-service, multi-purpose meeting and training facility. Its design is informed by the northwestern North Carolina “High Country” mountain vernacular and it features a main entrance of heavy timber construction; a stone base; and an engineered, textured exterior. It building will house modern offices and exquisite public service areas as well as plenty of related facilities.
Boomerang Design, with its primary headquarters in Charlotte, NC, was the architectural firm for the building project. Construction was done by the Garanco, Inc. General Contractor Company from Pilot Mountain, NC, which submitted the lowest bid of $1,399,900.00 on the project.
Avery County has had various new construction, expansions and renovations to its Court House, Parks and Recreation Department, children’s playgrounds and other public facilities in recent years as well as opening a new Veterans Monument and Memorial area on the Newland Town Square. And groundbreaking has already been held for a new Avery County swimming pool facility scheduled to open next May.
The new agricultural service building also is the first in a series of potential future projects on the county’s drawing board at the Heritage Park site. The next top priority project to be built there is a community center building, according to Barrier. That building has an estimated cost of $1 million.
The Avery County Board of Commissioners voted earlier this year to contract with fundraising consulting company Capital Development to help raise the needed funding for that project.
“Our goal is to utilize all the property at our site for all our programs,” Moody said. “We can centralize our operations and there’s just a lot more opportunity there for us to better serve people.”
The mission of the North Carolina Cooperative Extension is to offer an educational partnership helping people put research-based knowledge to work for economic prosperity, environmental stewardship and an improved quality of life. It does so through educational programs for Agriculture, Community Resource Development, 4-H, Youth and Families.
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