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State Budgets $1.1 Million for Ag Center
By Amanda McKay C-T News Reporter
Published: Thursday, May 15, 2008

Grand River Technical School may soon receive $1.138 million in state funds to build a new agricultural education facility at the Litton Agri-Science Learning Center.

The agriculture program offered at GRTS currently takes up about a quarter of the space at the school and Rep. John Quinn said that building a new center will free up valuable space that GRTS desperately needs. Ron Wolf, director of GRTS, said that the current GRTS building was originally built for about 350 students and is now being used to house nearly 700.

The funding is part of the Missouri state budget set up for capital improvement projects. “Our state budget for the next fiscal year comes in at 22.4 billion dollars,” said Quinn. “We have taken the time to make sure every single dollar is being spent wisely.”

Quinn also stated that one of the most important services the government provides is education. “This marks the fourth year in a row we have increased funding to education,” said Quinn. The budget will include funding for multiple projects within the State of Missouri, including plans to build a new GRTS Ag Center. Quinn stated that he addressed the importance of Chillicothe's Grand River Technical School and how beneficial this type of program was to Missouri.

Plans would include a 15,000 square foot facility with lab space and classrooms. The ag department would then be moved to the Litton Ag Center.

"It would be to our advantage and to the teacher's advantage to have class and labs all in the same spot," said Wolf. He also stated that moving the ag department would free up much needed space at the current school for new programs.

The newly sketched agricultural building is still in the planning stages. The new building has been reported on at board meetings but is stalemate at the current time. "We're waiting on the state," said Wolf. The governor has to sign the bill to pass. The money will then be available July 1 of the next fiscal year and then has to be spent within two years after that date.

Grand River Technical turned in an application for the funds last October. "We had support from our legislators," stated Wolf. "John Quinn and Brad Lager wrote letters of support for us to get this bill passed."

The budget bill is through appropriations and now awaits Gov. Matt Blunt's signature. The state will reimburse general revenue funds up to $1,137,500. The funds are a 50/50 local match, which means that even after the bill is signed, GRTS will need to raise matching funds for the project; totaling $2.275 million.

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