College unveils new agriculture complex

Howard College officials see their new agriculture complex as both a tip of the hat to this area's past and a helping hand for the future.The college officially unveiled its G.C. Broughton Jr. Complex Wednesday, a $2.6 million facility that will not only be home to the college's agriculture department but county extension offices and the 4-H Junior Livestock Show and other events.The complex houses three sections — an open-air pavilion, a show barn and classroom spaces — and was financed entirely by grant money from the G.C. Broughton Jr. Foundation.“This was G.C.'s dream, to give back to Howard County,” said Jean Broughton-Powell, chairperson of the foundation. “So many people were kind to him when he was first starting out his career. He realized youth were the future of this area and he wanted to do everything he could to help them … and it's our job to carry out his dream.”College President Dr. Cheryl Sparks said the idea for the complex first started taking shape in 2004, but it wasn't until September 2010 that the idea was formally green-lighted.The pavilion area was the first section completed and has already been utilized for a variety of functions, including the college's annual summer “ag camp” and Future Farmers of America leadership events. The show barn and classroom areas await only final detail work and will be ready for full-time use by the time the college's fall semester begins.“This is actually much better than we originally envisioned,” Sparks said of the complex. “We believe this facility will not only further our agriculture department but also the agriculture industry as a whole in the West Texas area.”