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GPRC hosts open house at large animal lab

The newly-renovated Harvey McLachlan Arena at the Grande Prairie Regional College (GPRC) Fairview Campus, also known as the large animal lab, was celebrated on Nov. 16 with a ribbon-cutting ceremony and coffee-and-cake reception.
Chris Laue, Dean of Trades, Agriculture & Environment, welcomed the small crowd gathered in the lab. He noted his gratitude for ongoing support from Town of Fairview and the M.D. of Fairview.
“Our large animal lab has recently undergone extensive changes,” Laue said. “We're happy to have an all-new large animal handling system: upgraded floors and walls, a new radiology room, drainage system and stainless steel cabinets, an equine surgical stall.
“Thanks to these upgrades, this space is safer, more efficient and better equipped to meet our students' learning needs,” Laue said.
He explained the $425,000 project was funded by the college and the government of Alberta, and through donations from the community.
“Speaking of our community,” Laue continued, “I'd like to take this time to acknowledge the Milne family who've been strong supporters of and donors to our agricultural programs for many years.”
Laue said animal health technology continues to be one of GPRC, Fairview Campus' most competitive programs.
Laue welcomed College president and CEO, Dan Gnatiuk next.
Gnatiuk acknowledged that “we are located on Cree territory in Treaty 8 lands, the traditional lands of the Beaver people and homelands of the Metis people”.
He said, “The Animal Health Technology (AHT) program has a reputation for excellence in this province and in our country,” and mirrored Laue's comment that it remains one of the College's most competitive programs and has a high post-graduation employment rate.
Gnatiuk emphasized that, “The AHT progam is vital to the success of the agricultural community of Fairview. Our graduates stimulate local economies, keep our industries strong and vibrant and raise the standard for animal care in this province.”
Susan Bansgrove, vice president, academics and research, told those in attendance that when the College makes investments, improvements and upgrades to its facilities, “we ask ourselves the question: 'How will this enrich the experiences of our students?'
“The student experience is at the core of every decision we make,” she said. “Because of this, we remain focused on improving spaces like the Harvey McLachlan Arena where students learn and study.”
Bansgrove noted, “At Fairview Campus, the AHT program is renowned for the high quality of its instructors. It remains one of GPRC's most popular programs of study.”
She said the upgrades in the lab “will make a real difference in the education of our students. Exposing students to industry standard equipment and facilities means better preparing them for their careers when they graduate, and ensuring their success as they go on in their professional lives”.
The success of the AHT program in Fairview, Bansgrove said, “is indicative of this region's great need for and appreciation of all this campus offers”.
Bansgrove thanked Laue, his staff and faculty and said, “We will continue to stand behind you at the executive level and support the growth and improvement of this campus and our college.”
Harvey McLachlan taught at the campus from 1963 to 1988. As an animal science instructor, McLachlan used the college farm as an outdoor classroom involving students with day-to-day care of dairy cows, beef cattle, swine, sheep and poultry.
Three other longtime instructors at GPRC Fairview Campus attended the open house:  Dr. Jim Henderson, Trevor Jones and Dr. Art Schatz.
Henderson was an instructor in the AHT program. He said that over the years, “we would shift the room around for different purposes. When we started the program, we didn't have any facilities,” and added, instruction was done “in the Fairview Vet Clinic for some time”.
Henderson noted, “Trevor Jones and Harvey McLachlan put forth the idea of animal health as an add-on to the agriculture program.”
Jones taught animal sciences from 1957 to 1980 at the campus and noted the large animal lab is “originally where we taught artificial insemination”. “The AHT program is one of the strongest they have,” he said. “It really gives the College a boost.”
Schatz started in the fall of 1987 as a veterinary instructor in the AHT program and retired June 30, 2010, returning two or three times under contract to teach a few courses.
“Over the years, this building was designed for the College agricultural program,” Schatz said. I'm impressed GPRC put money into the renovation.”
Source : fairviewpost