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Saturday, August 13, 2022

A Home in the Community: Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Muscatine County Opens in New Location

Margaret Hurlberthttps://discovermuscatine.com
Margaret Hurlbert works as the Editor of Discover Muscatine Newspaper.

Muscatine Living

Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Muscatine County (ISU Extension and Outreach) oversees many important programs that touch the lives of area residents. From running 4-H clubs for kids, to leading healthy and economical cooking classes, to preparing entrepreneurs to run their own businesses, to helping farmers maximize yield, ISU Extension and Outreach plays a vital role in Muscatine County.

Though ISU Extension and Outreach has actively served Muscatine County for many years, the organization never had a space to truly call its own. They rented an office at 1514 Isett Avenue, Muscatine, and ran their programs from there until their landlord informed them they would not have the option to renew their lease. At that point, ISU Extension and Outreach’s locally elected Extension Council opted to find a building to buy, giving the program more stability. Krista Regennitter, Muscatine County Extension Director, explained, “It’s an investment for the future.”

Before the group could begin using their space, they had to fully renovate it from six small units into a single office. However, these renovations (which began in April of 2019 and wrapped up in September) proved worth it. The facility now features both a large and small conference room, a full kitchen, sizable employee offices, and plenty of storage space. Located at 1601 Plaza Place, Muscatine, the office also has easy access to the Muscatine Early Learning Center, Weed Park, and the Bridgestone-Bandag nature area, making it the perfect spot to host children’s outdoor programming. Just a short walk from the MuscaBus stop at the Muscatine Mall, ISU Extension and Outreach’s new office offers easy access for all kinds of transportation. “It’s just so much better of a use of space,” added Regennitter. “It’s conducive for the work we do, and we were able to design it to meet our needs.”

Other ISU Extension and Outreach employees shared Regennitter’s enthusiasm. For Lindsey Stecher, Muscatine County 4-H Program Coordinator, the new office provides an ideal space for 4-H Clubs to meet. With 240 members spread between twelve clubs (including many from Muscatine as well as Blue Grass, Durant, West Liberty, and Wilton) having a welcoming central location makes a tremendous difference. “A lot of clubs can meet here. It’s a good place for clubs to meet,” Stecher shared.

Abby Boysen, Program Assistant for the Family Nutrition Program, who frequently leads group cooking and nutrition classes for families with restricted incomes, shared Stecher’s enthusiasm for the new office. “It’s easily accessible, and the facilities of the kitchen and the conference room support what I do,” she explained.

Even Iowa State University’s President, John Lawrence, considered the new office a step in the right direction. “This is fantastic. They have a great location and have a lot going on. This location will allow them to get even better. . . It’s all about the great people here and this is better for them,” he stated.

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