The Colorado State University-Arkansas Valley campus celebrated its grand opening Wednesday, just outside Rocky Ford on County Road 21. The master of ceremonies was Mike Bartolo, the manager of the Colorado State University-Arkansas Valley Research Center.
Before the feature event, the ribbon cutting, several speakers expressed their thanks for the collaboration which resulted in the creation of this multi-purpose center, which serves as a veterinary and crop laboratory, an extension service and an experimental station.
Bartolo presented Gene Niles, director of the CSU Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, and Bruce Fickenscher, regional director of the CSU Extension Service. They presented the members of their departments to applause by the group.
Bartolo presented architect Craig Denmon, the man who said "no" to the demolition of the sturdy shed building, which was built into the large structure housing the extension service, the conference rooms, the other offices and the kitchen. “He preserved history,” said Bartolo, “and saved money in the construction.”
Reagan Waskom, interim director of extension, praised the creation of the “one-stop shop” for its service to the community and to agriculture. “It is fitting to dedicate this building in the 150th anniversary year of Colorado State University, one of the leading academic research institutions in the country," he said.
He traced the school's roots back through the establishment of land grant universities and the experimental stations, the station’s location on or near the Fort Lyon, Catlin and Holbrook canals. He applauded the salinity studies and the lysimeter measuring devices which helped to establish guidelines in the Colorado-Kansas pact, settling water disputes between the states.
“Our mission is to grow food in this climate,” he said. “This building, the people in it, represent our new vision of collaboration. While preserving history, we use web technology and online assets to extend our outreach to the community.”
Otero County Commissioner John Hostetler, who later cut the ribbon for the official opening of the enlarged experimental/extension service, said: “None of us can do it alone. Working together, we look forward to what we can do next.”
Also speaking were Executive Associate Dean of Agricultural Sciences Dr. James Pritchett and William Nobles, director of CSU Extension Peaks and Plains Region.
Networking was taking place during the meeting, assuring the new CSU Arkansas Valley Research Center will be used heavily, which has been the aspiration of local and university officials and staff. A reminder of the mission was the ice cold watermelon and cantaloupe served at the kitchen counter area after the ribbon cutting outdoors.