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Groundbreaking of Agriculture Consumer Science Center

From left: Suffolk County Legislator Ed Romaine; LI Farm Bureau Executive Director Joseph Gergela; Yacov Shamash, Vice President, Economic Development and Dean, SBU College of Engineering and Applied Sciences; Vito A. Minei, Executive Director of the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County; Riverhead Town Councilwoman Jodi Giglio; SBU President Samuel L. Stanley Jr.; Senator Kenneth P. LaValle; LI Farm Bureau President Frank Behrodt; Riverhead Town Supervisor Sean Walter; and Riverhead Town Councilman James Wooten.

Nearly one year after announcing the open bidding process for the construction of a new Agriculture Consumer Science Center (ACSC) at the Stony Brook University Calverton Incubator, Stony Brook University President Samuel L. Stanley Jr. was joined by Senator Kenneth P. LaValle and other local dignitaries on Monday, October 24, to celebrate the groundbreaking and construction advancement of the planned Center. The project is expected to be completed by summer 2012.

The ACSC is being developed to help regional wine and agricultural producers and local entrepreneurs develop new, marketable consumer items and enhance their product lines through access to state-of-the-art shared processing areas and collaborations with researchers, scientists, and professionals at Stony Brook University, Brookhaven National Laboratory, and the NYS Small Business Development Center.

In March 2010, Stony Brook announced that through the efforts of New York State Senator Kenneth P. LaValle, the University will receive a $3.5 million grant from the New York State Economic Development Assistance Program for the construction of the ACSC at the Calverton Business Incubator, which was established by SBU in 2005 with a focus on the development of aquaculture, agriculture, and environmental technologies. Funding is being administered by the Dormitory Authority of the State of New York.

“I am pleased to have secured the state funding needed to kick-start this important economic development project,” said Senator LaValle. “The investment we make now will boost our local economy. This is a unique opportunity for our agricultural community to develop new, marketable consumer items and enhance existing product lines and, importantly, create new jobs and improve our region’s ability to remain competitive in the global marketplace.”

In his remarks, President Stanley expressed appreciation to Senator LaValle for his efforts in securing the $3.5 million grant for the expansion project and to the Town of Riverhead for donating the 50 acres of land on which the Center is now being built.

“This project is designed to be an economic engine, enhancing Eastern Long Island’s agriculture, aquaculture, and environmental industries and promoting their endeavors to create new jobs in the industries,” said President Stanley. “Here, regional wine and agricultural producers will have state-of-the-art processing areas in which to develop their products; they will be able to collaborate with scientists and researchers to develop their ideas, and they can use it as a resource in developing their products from concept to commercialization. It is a terrific project and Stony Brook is thrilled to help make it happen.”

The ACSC project budget will permit the construction of an additional 8,300 square feet of space to the already existing 15,680 square foot facility.

The Center will house fully functional resources for agricultural producers and small-scale food processors in both hot process and dry process functions. Dry storage, cold storage, and freezer storage units will be available on site, as well as a product development area with a viewing section for demonstration purposes. Producers will also be afforded laboratory space with ductless fume hoods and a microbiology lab for research and development. A loading dock will serve both the new addition and the existing building.

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