The University of Idaho is moving closer to having the money it needs to renovate and expand its Parma Research and Extension Center.
Gov. Brad Little’s proposed budget for Fiscal 2022 includes $3 million for the project from the state Permanent Building Fund. It’s part of his plan to invest money from the budget surplus in projects that provide long-term economic benefits.
Legislative approval of the Parma expenditure would mark a step forward for the $7 million project.
The project would be funded by $1 million from university through fees for services the center offers, $3 million would come from the Legislature, and another $3 million would come from commodity groups and agricultural businesses.
University President C. Scott Green and College of Agricultural and Life Sciences Dean Michael Parrella on Jan. 25 told the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee the Parma center does vital work that could expand in an updated, larger facility.
“We appreciate the governor’s one-time appropriation” for the Parma project, Parrella said. He said the university is nearing its $3 million fundraising target from industry.
He said renovating and expanding the Parma facility, which is more than 50 years old, would help the university add and retain “world-class” faculty and graduate students for research.
Green said the Parma center’s work in areas such as nematodes and airborne pathogens, water sustainability and consumption, and crop-variety development are important and “have attracted attention around the world” as the growing population puts a spotlight on the food supply.
The project, to be called the Idaho Center for Plant and Soil Health, could be completed in 2023.