03/06/18 — Extension offices move out

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Extension offices move out

By Joey Pitchford
Published in News on March 6, 2018 5:50 AM

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Wayne County Cooperative Extension 4-H agent Jessica Hogan unpacks boxes as she moves into her new office at the Maxwell Regional Agricultural Center.

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Kevin Johnson totes a box of some of the last items left in his office as he and others move from Wayne Center to their new offices at the Maxwell Regional Agricultural Center.

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Kevin Johnson receives the last inter-county mail being delivered to the Wayne Center on Monday, Feb. 12.

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Empty shelves, desks and the occasional items that were in use only days before are all that remain in the Wayne County Cooperative Extension Office as employees move to the new Maxwell Center. The furniture will more than likely be re-purposed as the center will be torn down.

The Wayne County Cooperative Extension is finally getting a much-needed upgrade, as the county office is fully moved into new accommodations at the Maxwell Center.

Kevin Johnson, extension director, said that the move has been a long time coming. Working at the extension's offices at 208 W. Chestnut St. has been difficult, Johnson said, because the building -- built in the 1950s -- has presented several challenges.

"The building was not meant for all the technology, they've had to come in here and add almost all our data lines have been added and run up through here," he said, pointing to a cluster of cables running along a beam on the ceiling. "Most of the offices only have one plug in them, so there's been a lot of issues."

A leaky roof forced Johnson to play "musical offices" when trying to coordinate meetings, and other offices like Wayne Soil and Water were essentially operating out of storage closets, Johnson said. All in all, the extension had outgrown its space, and was in need of a change.

The move began Thursday, with crews from Wayne County Facilities Maintenance moving out computers, pieces of furniture and other items. All told, around 30 employees from the cooperative extension, Wayne Soil and Water and Farm Services have moved to a single-story building next to the Maxwell Center.

While there are good memories at the Chestnut Street building, Johnson is excited to see the extension move on to better things.

"It's sentimental, having been here a long time, but you know we needed a new facility. We're excited about the move," Johnson said. "There have been a lot of challenges here, we've had some break-ins, we've had some people who felt uncomfortable out in the parking lot especially when we had night meetings. The new location I think is going to alleviate some of those problems."

The Maxwell Center offices will provide a range of benefits for the extension. The new facility includes much more meeting space for extension groups like 4-H to gather in.

"Take 4-H for example, we've got a 4-H meeting going on right now. The new location has a nice meeting space attached to our office, with good technology, it's spacious. If we have multiple events going on, we'll have the space to do that," Johnson said. "The spaciousness is important. We had kind of outgrown the facility."

The simple consistency that the new location brings is as valuable as anything else, Johnson said.

"Just being able to do things at the Ag Center. Every time you move a meeting around, you've got to take all of your stuff with you, your projectors, your laptops," he said. "Having all of those things at one location and having it convenient, it's going to be really nice."