New learning centre started

By Geoff Lee

May 4, 2017 12:00 AM

BETTER KEEP THOSE SHOVELS HANDY From left: School of Agricultural Sciences dean, Josie Van Lent, board chair, Darrel Howell, president, Alice Wainwright-Stewart, student-managed farm team leader, Maryje Baker, Lakeland MP Shannon Stubbs, Vermilion Mayor, Bruce MacDuff, dairy unit coordinator, Morgan Sangster, County of Vermilion River Reeve, Daryl Watt and Alberta Millk chairman, Gezinus Martens participated in a sod turning ceremony on April 26 for a new Dairy Learning Centre and Animal Health Clinic. SUBMITTED PHOTO

Lakeland College is investing $16.6 million to build a new Dairy Learning Centre and Animal Health Clinic at the Vermilion campus.
A sod turning ceremony took place at the site on April 26 to kick off the construction of new 47,000 sq. ft. Dairy Centre, which is to be completed this fall. 
The new centre will support the training and labour needs of the dairy industry.
The project will include the renovation of the current cattle and sheep facility into a Animal Health Clinic, featuring a modern surgical suite and increased lab spaces for the student-managed farm. That 14,531 sq. ft. facility is expected to be opened in 2018.
“Today represents so much more than turning shovels in the ground. It’s about innovation, academic excellence and new opportunities for our students to grow as leaders,” said Lakeland president Alison Wainwright-Stewart.
“To ensure we continue our incredible legacy as a top trainer of the next generation of skilled and responsible agricultural leaders, these outstanding learning facilities are essential.”
Funding for the two projects includes $5.95 million from the federal government and $10.65M from Lakeland.
“The total cost of the Dairy Learning Centre is $9.5 million, and $7.1 million for the Animal Health Clinic.
The Dairy Centre will be accessed by more than 400 agricultural sciences students each year, and be home to a Holstein dairy herd of 280, including 120 milk cows – an increase from the current 47 – replacement heifers and young stock.
It will feature a traditional milking parlour and a robotic milking system, and focus on cow comfort for higher output production, animal care, safety and transition cow management.
Lakeland College is the only post-secondary institution in Western Canada with a dairy specialization as part of the animal science technology program.
Alberta Milk is also a key contributor to the Dairy Centre with the additional milk quota they’ve provided, which is something every dairy producer in the province is contributing to.
With the Government of Alberta Growing Forward 2 grant, the non-profit organization received energy efficient systems, and design are also part of the new centre. 
“The student leadership and hands-on learning opportunities the Dairy Learning Centre and Animal Health Clinic will offer are parallel to none, thanks to our incredible partners,” said Wainwright-Stewart.
The Animal Health Clinic will allow Lakeland to double enrollment in the animal health technology and veterinary medical assistant programs.
It will also provide more student-managed leadership opportunities, including the sale of pet supplies and animal-care services.
“Thank you to our industry partners, advisory committees, alumni, students and our internal team, whose shared vision has ensured student leadership remains at the heart of these projects,” said Wainwright-Stewart.

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