NC Commissioner Steve Troxler: Agricultural Science Center Update

The Agricultural Science Center is expected to be less than six months away from completion. Commissioner Steve Troxler offers an update on where work on the project stands.

  • While the department has been busy in its response to COVID-19 with relation to agriculture and agribusiness, a lot of other “regular” work continues.
  • That includes construction on the Agricultural Sciences Center, which is predicted to be less than six months away from completion. The department is not involved personally in the construction process, but a team of department folks remain actively involved in the project, including planning for move-in.
  • The interior of the building is taking shape. Most of the exterior glass has gone in and most of the interior walls are up.
  • Coordinating the move-in is a complicated process. As listeners may remember, this laboratory complex when complete will include offices and labs for four of the department’s division and will house more than 200 employees.
  • The divisions coming together in this project are the: Food and Drug Protection, Standards. Structural Pest Control and Pesticides, and Veterinary.
  • Our goal when we begin the move is to minimize the impact on the labs, especially as it relates to continuing to provide critical services, such as food and drug testing.
  • More than 1,400 pieces of lab equipment are involved in the move. Unfortunately, moving sensitive lab equipment isn’t as easy as unplugging it and plugging it in somewhere else.
  • Many of the pieces of equipment will need to be recertified once they are in their new locations. Some recertification will need to be done by an outside company.
  • We want to be sure it is working correctly and providing accurate data.
  • Discussions and planning for their move are taking place remotely and online because of the COVID-19 pandemic. But, I know the team will be ready when it is time to make the move.
  • One of the interesting things I recently found out about the building is that it is planned to have 700 signs for bathrooms, stairwells, hazards and offices.
  • Another interesting feature includes the wall anchoring the reception desk. It will feature an image of a scientific view of a tobacco leaf. With tobacco’s pivotal roots in North Carolina agriculture, the blending of that history with the scientific view of a leaf creates a truly unique centerpiece for this facility and recognizes where we have come from and our mission ahead.
  • I don’t want to give everything away on the design, so I will stop there. I can tell you that I am eager for this project to be complete and cannot wait for the building to go into service for the people of North Carolina.
  • We have been good caretakers of the previous labs and offices, but those facilities average being 40 years old and older.
  • I am proud that we are investing in the future for our agricultural industry and consumers with this new building. I know it will serve our residents well for years to come.
  • Since I only mentioned COVID-19 once today, I’ll pass along this friendly COVID reminder to continue to practice the “three W’s” – wash your hands, wait 6 feet apart and wear a mask!