TUSKEGEE, Ala. (September 25, 2012) — The last payment on a $5 million grant will help continue renovation and building projects as well as support the university’s cooperative extension efforts. This month, the United States Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture awarded $1,046,881 to Tuskegee under a program for facilities management at 1890 Land-Grant universities.
Since 2008, funds from the grant have been used to maintain and make improvements to several buildings such as Campbell, Harper, Morrison-Mayberry and Milbank halls. Also, some of the grant is being used to construct three upcoming facilities including: the Black Belt Family Farm Fruit and Vegetable Marketing and Innovation Center in Selma, Ala.; Carver Integrative Sustainability Center and James Henry Meriweather Henderson Hall Agricultural Life Science Teaching, Extension and Research Building.
Walter A. Hill, dean of Tuskegee’s College of Agriculture, Environment and Nutrition Sciences, said that a recent restructuring plan has expanded the purposes for all of the on-campus buildings impacted by the grant.
“There will be teaching, research and extension in all of these buildings,” Hill said as he waved his hand around the area in front of Campbell Hall.
He said the buildings’ three purposes complement each other and benefit the county and state by supporting the university’s cooperative outreach efforts.
“To separate extension from research is not what we’re doing. As we are providing services, we are also collecting data,” Hill said.
Hill said the university has several extension agents who provide education on a number of topics such as nutrition, health and economic improvement throughout the state. But, he feels nutrition education is one of the most vital needs for the city, county and state. He said the health measurements for residents in the Black Belt counties in Alabama rank among the poorest in the nation, but he hopes Tuskegee can help change those numbers.
“We are educating about nutrition and wellness and trying to get economic standards up so people can eat better and have better medicines and take care of families better,” Hill said. “Hopefully, we can improve the holistic health of the person and help do prevention.”