Ag building holds open house

Published 11:21 am Friday, June 22, 2012

Dozens of citizens visited Decatur County’s new 9,724 square-foot agriculture building Friday morning, as they participated in an open house and public viewing of the facility.

The building, which is located on Ag Lane off Reynolds Street, and next to the Cloud Agricultural Building, has been under construction since September 2011. It houses the Decatur County Cooperative Extension Office, the county’s 4-H program, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s local Farm Service Agency (FSA) and Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS).

State Rep. Gene Maddox was among the dignitaries who attended Friday’s open house, declaring the new building “something Decatur County can be proud of.”

“Being a representative for Decatur County, I am very thrilled that we have this beautiful new bulding,” he said. “I think it’s something that the citizens of this area should be very proud of.”

Adam Vessell of Bainbridge was also impressed by the facility.

“It’s a nice upgrade from where these agencies used to be located,” he said. “I like how it’s easy to find the agency you’re looking for.”

After entering through the front door, visitors can head forward to the NRCS offices, left to the FSA, or right to the County Extension Service. Conference rooms and a kitchen are located in the rear of the building.

Friday, visitors were treated to several tables of refreshments, with the rooms decorated by agriculture-themed displays featuring corn, peppers and other vegetables.

County Interim Administrator Gary Breedlove said many people played a big part in making the building a reality.

“I think the biggest thing I’m proud about is the cooperation that was involved,” he said. “Everyone from the City of Bainbridge, to our planning department, to the inmate labor and [General Contractor] Billy Dollar and [Interior Designer] June Faircloth — they all played a role.

“Across the county, everyone has helped work together to make this possible.”

Breedlove noted that the county will be able to recoup some of the cost of the building, through lease payments that the U.S. Department of Agriculture makes to the county to rent the FSA and NRCS’s office space. Those payments are $44,832.90 per year.

The building cost approximately $700,000 to construct.

“Anybody who has visited our county extension office or other agencies knows how dillapidated their previous location was,” Breedlove said. “I think it’s reasonable to accept that this upgrade was needed and this was the time to do it. Agriculture is one of the most important economic engines of our county.”