NMSU Breaks Ground On Rangeland Sustainability Center

Corona, NM – More than 60 people - including state officials and community members - came out to support the groundbreaking of New Mexico State University's Southwest Center for Rangeland Sustainability near Corona.

Among the guests speaking at the 9/28/10 ceremony were NMSU President Barbara Couture; NMSU Board of Regents member Blake Curtis; Scott Shafer, of the Corona advisory board; Rex Wilson, president-elect of the New Mexico Cattle Growers' Association; and State Representative Dennis Kintigh.

"This facility is going to open up a whole new world of outreach for us," said Shad Cox, ranch manager of the Corona Range and Livestock Research Center. The new building will be located on the research center's property. "We'll have something where at a moment's notice, we can, in a more timely fashion, bring an educational event to the community and the state of New Mexico." The center is also intended to provide a rich learning environment for NMSU students.

When completed, the $1.5 million state-funded first phase will consist of indoor and outdoor multiuse meeting/exhibit areas; library/meeting room for outreach activities and student use; offices for the Corona research center, visiting faculty, staff and students; and a kitchen/meal preparation facility. These components will be spread throughout 3,450 square feet of enclosed space and 2,800 square feet of covered porch area.

Because the new facility is centrally located in New Mexico, it has garnered support from many statewide organizations, legislators and local governments, as well as the executive branch of the State of New Mexico. The building will be a venue for centralized meetings for statewide interests, as well as exciting new outreach activities, in a secluded, picturesque rangeland setting.

The center will be located one and one-quarter miles northeast of the Corona research center headquarters, providing students and guests a view of the Gallinas Mountains.

Couture said people will be attracted to the facility and what it has to offer the people of New Mexico.

Couture also said she hoped the training facility would help ranchers learn more about how to continue what many have done for hundreds of years - continue to sustain the land so it remains prosperous.

"I understand what this lovely facility will do for (the area)," she said. "The facility has a wonderful look to it. I think it will be attractive to the new ranchers we want to attract to this area."

Also representing NMSU at the event were Ben Woods, senior vice president for external relations; Vimal Chaitanya, vice president of research; Jon Boren, associate dean/director of the Cooperative Extension Service; and Ricardo Rel, assistant vice president for research and senior director for government relations.

They were joined by Stirling Spencer, of the Corona advisory board; New Mexico State Land Office Deputy Commissioner Dennis Garcia; former NMSU regent and HED Committee for Capital Projects chair Steve Anaya; Gerald Burke, HED Committee for Capital Projects chairman of the General Obligation Bond Committee; and Corona Mayor Bill Hignight.

Mark Gladden, director of development for the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences, said there are naming opportunities to help provide critically needed furnishings for the new facility while creating a lasting legacy for generous families and individual contributors.

The first phase of the center is expected to be complete in May 2011.