The development of new varieties continues, with several “in the pipeline,” da Graca said.

“This new building will help us meet the current and future challenges of maintaining a healthy, profitable citrus industry that generates badly needed jobs and income. It will also help us continue helping local students earn their graduate degrees, 50 of whom have done so already,” he said.

Several state officials praised the center’s scientific research history as the foundation for the Texas citrus industry’s past and future.

“Planning for the fine facilities we are dedicating today began 10 years ago,” said Dr. Allen Rasmussen, dean of the Dick and Mary Lewis Kleberg College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Human Sciences at Texas A&M-Kingsville.

“Funds were provided by state tuition revenue bonds, but the term is misleading,” he said. “It was not paid for with any tuition anybody has paid; it was paid for by the citizens of Texas.”