Missouri Governor Jay Nixon and St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley joined Donald Danforth Plant Science Center leadership, staff, volunteers and guests to celebrate the groundbreaking of a three-story addition to the Center's existing research building.

The new building, slated to open in fourth quarter of 2015, will give the Center the capacity to house more than 100 additional researchers in flexible research laboratories with state-of-the-art equipment, as well as additional core facilities and growth chamber space.

"The Center's building expansion project is a major step in our long range plans to increase our impact through plant science," said Danforth Center President James C. Carrington. "The new addition will increase our capacity for high-level science in crop improvement, bioenergy, sustainable agriculture and plant biology. The new facilities will also help attract the best scientific teams as we expand in the years ahead."

"As home to nearly 3,500 bioscience companies, world-class research institutions, and a highly-skilled workforce, Missouri is a leader in the life sciences industry," Governor Nixon said.

"The Danforth Plant Science Center has long been a strong anchor of life science innovation in Missouri and its $45 million expansion will build on this success and encourage more companies to create high-tech and high-paying jobs right here in the Show-Me State."

The award of $4.5 million in Contribution Tax Credits from the Missouri Development Finance Board prompted the Center's Board of Directors to give the project the go-ahead last July. The Center partnered with the St. Louis Economic Partnership during the application for tax credits.

"The Contribution Tax Credits were critical to raising the remaining funds we needed to move the project forward," said William H. Danforth, founding chairman.

"St. Louis County and the State of Missouri have been wonderful partners both in establishing and growing the Danforth Plant Science Center. We continue to be grateful as we as we take this step in building the region's plant science and contributing to its economic progress."

"The Danforth Plant Science Center is helping our entire region grow, said St. Louis County Executive Charlie A. Dooley. "It's all about talent. They are hiring new, highly-skilled scientists from around the world. In turn, other companies are moving here to be near the talent and the groundbreaking research."

"The addition will make the Danforth Center a more robust institution and will provide the resources it needs to grow its global leadership in plant science research, technology and commercialization. These efforts will accelerate scientific discovery, and application to crops of the world, as well as encourage and support new company formation in the St. Louis region," said John F. McDonnell, chairman of the board.

Two architectural firms working in collaboration, Christner Inc. and Flad Architects, designed the 79,000 square foot research facility. McCarthy Building Companies, Inc. is serving as the construction manager and Landmark Contract Management Inc. is serving as project manager.

Elected officials who attended the celebration include:

Rep. Tim Jones, Speaker of the Missouri House of Representatives; Rep. John Diehl, Majority Floor Leader; Rep. Jill Schupp and Creve Coeur Mayor Barry Glantz.