SHRS Miami Ground Breaking Ceremony

SHRS Miami celebrated it's new building groundbreaking ceremony on December 16, 2004

The new facility, which is expected to be ready for operation in mid-2005 will replace the existing complex of much smaller, outdated buildings currently in use.

The 6.8 million facility will be paid for by Hurricane Andrew relief fund monies awarded the agency because of extensive damage done to the research station in 1992.

The honorable Carrie Meeks, former Congresswoman for District 117 was schedule to speak at the ceremony but was unable to attend due to a scheduling conflict. Robert Heath, Research Leader / Location Coordinator for the SHRS lauded Meeks for saving the facility.

“Carrie Meeks was probably the difference between the survival of the station and its suggested demise after Hurricane Andrew”, Heath said. “Congressman Meeks, with Senator Smathers, the Friends of Chapman Field and other heroically lobbied and persuaded those advocating for closure of the station to support its continuation and the eventual funding for the new building. That’s why we’re here. This and her many proactive efforts have resulted in considerable recognition on a local, national and international level”.

Other dignitaries present and addressing the assembled group were Dr. S. Karl Narang, ARS South Atlantic Area Director, Eugene P. Flinn, Jr., Mayor of Palmetto Bay, Geary Heinrich, project manager of the architectural group Jacobs facilities, Inc. , Dr. Van Waddill of the University of Florida, Dr. Kelsey Downum of FIU, Dr. Beverly Moore-Garcia of Miami Dade College, Dr. Michael Maunder of Fairchild Tropical Gardens and Steve Pearson from Friends of Chapman Field.

Dr. Maunder, whose Fairchild Tropical Garden has a partnering relationship with the research facility, expressed high praise for the improved center and it’s work.

“Its making South Florida a global center for agriculture and horticulture”, Mander said.

The Subtropical Horticulture Research Station will be operated by USDA’s Agricultural Research Service, its chief scientific research agency. The 197 acre site is mostly fields and plots used in horticultural research. The new two story building will have 32, 766 square feet of floor space and will house agronomy, chemistry, entomology, hydro-physics, molecular genetics and tissue culture laboratories. The will also be a library, conference rooms and offices. The reinforced concrete structure and roof are designed to withstand hurricane strength winds, a must after Andrew.

Grace & Naeem Uddin, Inc. a general contractor based in NW Miami will be building the new facility. Construction is expected to begin in January 2004.

--In the picture--
From left to right digging in at the site of the new facility are (1-r) Mayor Eugene P. Flinn, Jr., Robert Heath, Research Leader / Location Coordinator, Dr. Van Waddill, University of Florida / IFAS, Dr. Michael Maunder, Fairchild Tropical Gardens, Dr. S. Karl Narang, Agricultural Research Service Area Director, Gary Heinrich, Jacobs Facilities, Dr. Beverly Moore-Garcia, Miami Dade College and Dr. Kelsey Downum, Florida International University.



SHRS Miami Ground Breaking Ceremony

Four cultivars of Iochroma

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