Renovation of the Pee Dee REC Progressing According to Schedule

Yesterday we began our conversation with Dr. Tom Dobbins, Director of Clemson Extension on the implementation of the strategic plan to bring Extension in South Carolina back to its glory days.  For the past year or so, Extension has been creating, and filling positions all across the agriculture spectrum, and Dobbins says with the current call for experts, that’s going to  complete the hiring, for now:

“Far as the hiring that we’re going to do, we have maximized every penny that’s been allocated to us by the state to hire new folks.”

But, if a funding request from the state legislature is granted, Dobbins says there’s a couple more positions he’d like to fill:

“When we get these positions filled, we will be at the end of the money that we have allocated to hire new positions, unless we get new moneys through the legislature this year, which we have asked for two additional fruit and vegetable people that will be out in the counties, and we have asked for an additional PhD type person that will work with us at the Coastal in the area of fruit and vegetable.”

Dobbins offers an update on the major renovation of the Pee Dee Research & Education Center near Florence:

“The Pee Dee station is going great, of course the renovation has started, they have torn out all the interior walls for the lab space.  When they get through with the renovations, which should be through by this time next year, by January 2017 we should be moving back into Pee Dee.”

And when completed, the Pee Dee REC will be a state of the art facility:

“They have completed the demolition o fht interiror, so they will start rebuilding.  Our offices have been located outside the main building where they’ve repurposed another building, so we still have labs and offices for our people in those buildings.  So, one year from today, one year from now we should be back in the Pee Dee fully functional with all the new labs, it’s going to add a great benefit, especially to our PhD people that are doing research at Pee Dee because they’re going to have the most modern lab that you can possibly have.  So, the construction is now going as planned once we got started.”

Dr. Tom Dobbins, Director of Clemson Extension.'

A native of the Texas Panhandle, Rhonda was born and raised on a cotton farm where she saw cotton farming evolve from ditch irrigation to center pivot irrigation and harvest trailers to modules. After graduating from Texas Tech University, she got her start in radio with KGNC News Talk 710 in Amarillo, Texas.