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Okaloosa County to break ground on new Agriculture Learning Center in Fort Walton Beach

Okaloosa County will be holding a groundbreaking ceremony on Wednesday, July 17, 2024, at 7:30 a.m. for a new Agriculture Extension Office.
Source: Okaloosa County

Okaloosa County will break ground on a new Agriculture Extension Office in Fort Walton Beach, replacing a storm-damaged building in south Okaloosa County.

  • The groundbreaking ceremony is scheduled for Wednesday, July 17, 2024, at 7:30 a.m. near Miss Ruth’s Farmers Market at the Northwest Florida Fairgrounds, located at 1954 Lewis Turner Blvd.

The 3,000-square-foot facility will serve as a new home for the county’s University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Services (UF IFAS) Extension programs. It will feature space for large groups, a full teaching kitchen, a small laboratory, storage, and offices.

“The staff at our Extension Office does an outstanding job of educating and providing agricultural services to the public,” said Okaloosa County Board Chairman Paul Mixon. “This new south Okaloosa facility will allow them to expand on their existing reputation as leaders in research-based education.”

The new center will offer a variety of courses, programs, workshops, and meetings covering agriculture, family and consumer sciences, commercial and residential horticulture, natural resources, and 4-H Youth Development program areas.

District 2 Commissioner Carolyn Ketchel, who serves as the liaison to the UF IFAS Extension Office, emphasized the importance of the project.

  • “This project is a much-needed resource for the community,” Ketchel said. “The north Okaloosa Extension Office is such an incredible asset and we are fortunate to be able to build an equally appropriate building to serve south Okaloosa County residents and the Extension’s programs.”

Construction of the new Agriculture Learning Center is expected to be completed in the summer of 2025.

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