The Lakeland College community is celebrating the reopening of the upgraded WHT Mead building on the Vermilion Campus.
The facility which is home to some 600 ag students has roots dating back to 1964. The upgrades come courtesy of $17.3 million from the Alberta government and as well $150,000 from Synergy Credit Union for a new interactive learning space.
Geoff Brown, dean of the School of Agricultural Sciences says the upgraded facility offers the learning spaces they need.
“It’s an exciting time for the agriculture sector. For years we have talked about the challenges with an ageing farm population and really wondering who is going to take over the reins in the next generation for producing our food. Over the last 12-years we have seen an explosive growth in enrollment in the School of Agricultural Sciences, increasing over 200 per cent in just 12-years. So if you are wondering where the youth are in agriculture, they are on their way.”
The expansion now offers 10 new class spaces ranging in size from 36 to 150 students, says Brown.
The 35,214 sq. ft. WHT Mead building also features collaboration spaces, labs and faculty offices for the School of Agricultural Sciences and applied research.
Vermilion-Lloydminster-Wainwright MLA Garth Rowswell speaking on behalf of the government shared in the excitement of being in the rejuvenated space. He congratulated college officials for seizing opportunities as he was approached for support on the Mead renos in his second week of taking office.
“Our next big project is the Mead building. And they had plans all laid out and everything. So I can’t compliment the management, the board and everyone that works at Lakeland College enough for being prepared when opportunity presents itself. And just to demonstrate that, Adam Waterman (board chair) just gave me a list of about six things that they would like to fix up next.”
The building is an academic centre for the college’s agricultural sciences programs with over 200 environmental sciences and human services students also accessing the classrooms and lecture theatres. College officials will also host continuing education courses, community meetings, and industry-events at the Mead building.