Lakeland celebrates construction of new Learning Centres

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April 26, 2017
Lakeland College Agricultural Sciences students will take the lead with advanced student-managed learning opportunities in a new Dairy Learning Centre and Animal Health Clinic
Dignitaries, industry partners, alumni, students, employees and friends of the college celebrated the start of construction of these two new agricultural learning centres on Wednesday, April 26. Sod-turning celebration

The sod-turning ceremony featured:
  • Lakeland Member of Parliament Shannon Stubbs
  • Vermilion mayor Bruce MacDuff
  • County of Vermilion River reeve Daryl Watt
  • Alberta Milk chairman Gezinus Martens
  • Lakeland’s board chair Darrel Howell
  • president Alice Wainwright-Stewart
  • School of Agricultural Sciences dean Josie Van Lent
  • Maryje Bikker, a second-year dairy major in the animal science technology diploma program and Student-Managed Farm dairy team leader.

“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,” says Wainwright-Stewart. “It’s about advancing our unique student leadership advantage, building on over 100 years of excellence and creating new opportunities for decades to come. 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.”

Located at the Vermilion campus Student-Managed Farm – Powered by New Holland, the state-of-the-art facilities will provide cutting-edge hands-on learning and applied research opportunities. 

The new 47,000 sq. ft. Dairy Learning Centre will be completed by fall 2017. More than 400 agricultural sciences students will use the facility each year.

It will also 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’s current Cattle & Sheep Facility will be renovated and expanded into a modern Animal Health Clinic by early 2018. This will allow Lakeland to double enrolment in the animal health technology and veterinary medical assistant programs.

Students will care for a wider variety of animals in a modern surgical suite and increased lab spaces in the 14,531 sq. ft. Animal Health Clinic. Student-managed leadership opportunities will be created, including the sale of pet supplies and animal care services. 

Each project received funding from the Government of Canada’s Post-Secondary Institutions Strategic Investment Fund.  

Alberta Milk is also a key contributor to the Dairy Learning 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 Dairy Learning 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,” says Wainwright-Stewart. “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.”

The total cost of the Dairy Learning Centre is $9.5 million and Animal Health Clinic is $7.1 million. Both projects have more than half of the funding in place with the remaining funds to be raised through Leading. Learning. The Lakeland Campaign. This campaign builds on Lakeland’s solid foundation to expand student success and leadership initiatives.

Photo: Lakeland College held a sod-turning ceremony on April 26 to celebrate the official start of construction for the new Dairy Learning Centre and Animal Health Clinic. From left to right are: Josie Van Lent, School of Agricultural Sciences dean; Darrel Howell, board chair; Alice Wainwright-Stewart, Lakeland's president; Maryje Bikker, Student-Managed Farm dairy team leader; Shannon Stubbs, Lakeland MP; Bruce MacDuff, Vermilion's mayor; Morgan Sangster, dairy unit coordinator; Daryl Watt, County of Vermilion River reeve; and, Gezinus Martens, Alberta Milk chairman.