Lakeland College’s WHT Mead Animal Science Centre will be renovated after receiving funds from the Alberta Government.
Yesterday, Premier Jason Kenney announced $17.3 million in funding for Lakeland College to go towards the Vermilion campus facility.
“This incredible investment will allow us to expand our facility to accommodate new programs,” said Lakeland College President and CEO, Dr. Alice Wainwright-Stewart.
“We can’t wait to welcome more students and ensure they have more than classrooms and lab space. It’s an investment in our community and rural sustainability.”
The expansion and upgrade is expected to create approximately 100 jobs for local construction and tradesmen.
Kenney said that ensuring agriculture programs at Lakeland College are set for the future is an important part of the province’s economic strategy.This project is made possible by Alberta taxpayers through the capital maintenance and renewal fund.
“For generations, Lakeland College has been a site of hope and opportunity and has served this region for almost 110 years,” said Master of Ceremonies, MLA Garth Rowswell.
The current facility is approximately 60 years old. Over 500 Agricultural Science and over 300 Environmental Science students use the existing Mead Building and will be looking forward to utilizing the added space and energy efficiency of the modernized facility.
Dale Milne, Lakeland College Director of Facilities and Infrastructure, said that construction is expected to begin this year. Portable units may be brought in later on to allow classes to coincide with the ongoing project. With students following a blended learning pattern and alternating times online and in class, it may assist in keeping the numbers on site down.
“The resulting improvements to the Mead Building will serve the community well into the future,” said Demetrios Nicolaides, Minister of Advanced Education.
“Agriculture is a key part of continuing to diversify Alberta’s economy,” said Alberta Premier, Jason Kenney.
He said that there has been massive gains in agricultural output, in yields and in the value of Alberta’s agriculture industry in the past couple decades. He attributes a lot of the growth to the kinds of things that are studied at Lakeland College such as crop science, animal science, smarter water management, and smarter marketing techniques.
“Because of these kinds of innovations in agriculture, we are seeing the highest ever yields out of the Canadian prairies and overall the greatest value ever produced by agriculture,” said Kenney.
“The demand for high quality food is rising and countries in the developing world are able to now able to afford a higher quality of food, making us central players in the global market for agricultural products.
That’s why it’s important for us to invest in the future of agriculture,” said Kenney.
Overall, college and community dignitaries were excited about the prospect of enhanced opportunities and the creation of new jobs in the area. Lakeland College Board Chair, Scott Webb; Mayor of Vermilion, Caroline McAuley; and County of Vermilion River Reeve, Dale Swyripa were also in attendance. Premier Kenney hinted that he may be back to check out the facility when it is in full operation.