Woodbury Extension makes its move
SIOUX CITY – Monday was anything but ordinary for staff members of one familiar northwest Iowa organization – the Woodbury County Extension.
The day marked the opening of the new $300,000 office complex in the Singing Hills area of southeastern Sioux City.
Sherry McGill, Extension’s area five regional director, said she was excited about what the move from the former location in the Southern Hills Shopping Center means not only to her staff, but community and area service users.
“I think what it means overall is that we’ll be better able to serve more individuals more effectively,” she said. “We’ve had a large number of people wanting to take advantage of our classes and we can now expand our educational offerings.
“While continuing to provide our established programs including those in agriculture and management areas, the building now gives Extension the opportunity to partner with other organizations and to offer another educational resource to the community,” McGill said.
This is especially true of the facility’s Cargill Conference Center, with capacity for 100 people. It was made possible through a $112,500 contribution from Cargill employees and the company’s associated entities.
McGill said she and others within Extension are equally appreciative of the additional generous contributions received from area businesses and individuals that kick-started the project last spring.
Woodbury County Extension program coordinator Molly Hewitt said she is also looking forward to expanding current programs and possible new offerings as a result of the enlarged facilities.
“It’s a great move forward for all of us,” she said. “We’ve an increased visibility with a standing building of our own that can be used by many people for all kinds of events.
“In welcoming an expected increased number of visitors, we also expect to host more community partnership programs with organizations such as United Way of Siouxland, Sioux City Chamber of Commerce and other non-profit groups, and to be able to branch outside of our existing Extension programming.”
Among those to benefit from the new and expanded features of the 6,600-square-foot complex will be Woodbury County youths.
The county’s 4-H program, directed by Lujean Faber, is second only to Polk County in terms of membership in Iowa.
Hewitt said the current interest and subsequent growth in urban youth programming has been among factors in the overall increase in numbers.
Hewitt and McGill said an expanded kitchen area will facilitate Serve Safe training and education by Renee Swears, nutrition and wellness specialist.
That training will focus on restaurant managers and food service personnel on ensuring safe food handling.
Participants in the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program will also see benefits.
The new Singing Hills office site will expand programs for Master Gardeners’ activities with outdoor space near the building.
The area is to be a teaching garden for plant testing and production, an added resource for teachers and students in the current Sioux City School District gardening programs and possible community garden projects.
McGill and Hewitt said with nearly $200,000 of the project goal having been raised, they are confident in the future of Woodbury County Extension and its community education training and management opportunities.
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