UI PROPOSES PARMA CENTER CLOSURE
After a statewide process of gathering information and analyzing options, the University of Idaho College of Agricultural and Life Sciences is proposing the closure of the Parma Research and Extension Center by the end of the year.
The college's plan is one step in a strategic consolidation of its resources needed to meet an 11.5 percent budget reduction in the 2010 fiscal year. Operations at the Parma center will cease on or before Dec. 31.
The closure will result in the loss of about 16 employees at Parma. Faculty researchers stationed at the center will move to the Caldwell Research and Extension Center at Caldwell.
"The economics of this year have been difficult, and the college has been involved in a process to examine thoughtfully how to address operations, research and service to the state within that tighter economic reality," says John Hammel, college dean.
Closing the Parma station continues a trend of consolidating research operations at the Caldwell Research and Extension Center. In November 2006 the college ended that center's operations on 320 acres and moved employees to 1904 E. Chicago St. in Caldwell near Interstate 84.
The 200-acre Parma Research and Extension Center has three greenhouses, office and classroom space and is located a mile north of Parma. The center began operations in 1925, focusing on high value specialty crops including hops, mint, onions and alfalfa seed. Six faculty members currently work from Parma.
Salaries and employee benefits comprise about 90 percent of the agricultural and extension service's current budget, Hammel says.