A new, $9 million building equipped with the latest in scientific technology was dedicated Dec. 15 at the Texas A&M-Kingsville University Citrus Center at Weslaco.

The two-story building replaced converted military barracks dating back to World War II that were hauled to the site from a nearby military base in Harlingen, according to center director Dr. John da Graca.

“Those old buildings were getting very expensive to maintain, so we are especially pleased to be in our new facilities that will help us carry on the 60- year tradition here of excellence in research,” he said.

The center’s achievements over that time include development of deep red grapefruit varieties, including the Star Ruby and Rio Red varieties developed by Dr. Richard Hensz, a former director of the center who traveled from his home in Kerrville to attend the ceremony.

“The Rio Red is the main variety grown in Texas,” da Graca said. “The Rio Red and the Star Ruby are widely grown in other countries including South Africa, Australia, Turkey, Cyprus, Israel and Argentina.”