The UF/IFAS Extension Straughn Professional Development Center was made possible by a generous donation from Alto and Patrecia Straughn. The Straughns are most notable for their groundbreaking contribution to the Florida blueberry and watermelon industries, however, their contribution to extension research and outreach has been just as influential. Alto Straughn's rich and productive relationship with IFAS began as a student in the 1950’s. Later he worked as an extension agent, in extension administration and eventually as a partner in developing innovative growing and harvesting techniques. The construction of the Straughn Extension Center represents their commitment to cooperative extension in the state of Florida.
The UF/IFAS Extension Straughn Professional Development Center strives to offer an outstanding environment to learn, grow and connect through professional development, trainings and meetings. The center offers space to hold events that furthers UF/IFAS’s ability to fulfill the mission of enhancing and sustaining the quality of human life by making knowledge developed in the fields of agriculture, human and natural resources, and the life sciences accessible.
The landscaping around the Straughn Extension Center was designed as a teaching tool for visitors and event participants. Considered a demonstration garden, interpretive signs guide visitors to learn about the nine Florida Friendly Landscaping principles accomplished in the center's outdoor space. Learn more from the Center for Landscape Conservation and Ecology.
The Straughn Extension Center was built with sustainable building principles outlined by the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Green Building Rating System. The facility was awarded LEED Gold certification.