New county extension office dedicated

County Extension lab

Master Gardener Bob Bayer surveys the new county extension building’s testing lab. In the old building, Bayer had to share lab space with phone volunteers and stored materials.

BRIAN HUGHES | News Bulletin
Published: Tuesday, November 6, 2012 at 04:56 PM.

CRESTVIEW — Okaloosa County Master Gardeners President Marge Stewart suggested increased professionalism and workplace pride are just some benefits of the University of Florida/IFAS Okaloosa County Extension service’s new $1 million office building.

“There’s room for everybody to do their stuff. We’re not embarrassed to have people visit anymore. We’re not climbing over people who are trying to answer the phones. This is amazing!” she said.

With the snip of a red ribbon, the extension service’s days of operating from a cramped, outdated former fairgrounds shed are officially over. Extension staff and equipment completed the move from Old Bethel Road in time for the new facility’s official opening Monday morning.

“In that short period of time, it’s about killed us,” Family and Consumer Sciences agent Elaine Courtney said. “But we did it.”

After Gerald Edmondson, previous extension director and the building’s namesake, snipped the Crestview Area Chamber of Commerce ribbon, the crowd toured the building. Bob Bayer greeted guests in the testing lab, a facility he no longer must share with Master Gardeners operating phones to answer resident questions.

Marine Sciences agent Brooke Saari proudly showed her new office and storeroom to guests.

“When I first met her, her office was a hallway,” County Commissioner Wayne Harris said. “That’s what prompted much of this.”

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