With the recent signing of an Intergovernmental Agreement with the State of Illinois that allows for Kaskaskia College to now become owner of the former Animal Disease Lab, its Agriculture Program now has a new home.
This facility will provide the Agriculture and Horticulture Programs with a premier teaching facility that will include lecture, computer lab, and laboratory spaces. According to KC Professor of Agriculture, Aaron Heinzmann, “Our programs desperately needed increased space, as we have grown significantly over the last 8 years. Enrollment has grown 54% since 2005, and served nearly 100 students in 2012-13.”
This move will allow the KC Agriculture Program to expand from the current 1200 square foot room to a 44,000 square foot building. KC Professor Bill Waggoner says, “We have out grown our current set-up by leaps and bounds very quickly. As a 2000 graduate of the Agricultural Program at KC, I can personally say that this is a perfect fit. This move will give our students leading edge lab space to perform studies that will be very beneficial to the quickly changing Agricultural Industry”.
The Intergovernmental Agreement gives KC the building for a five year period with one five year renewal period. The new building, now being named the “Kaskaskia College Agricultural Education Center” will be ready for students for the Fall 2013 Semester which begins August 19.
KC Dean of Career and Technical Education, George Evans feels that the agreement will greatly assist our already successful Agriculture Programs with the space and tools necessary to take post-secondary agricultural education into the next century. Evans says, “This building will provide us with larger classrooms and abundant laboratory space. Keep in mind this building was built to service the agricultural industry, and we will continue to utilize the building for what its original purpose was. I am excited for the future.”
Heinzmann adds, “The facility also fits us at the right time, as the Agriculture and Horticulture programs have each added degrees and certificates in the last year. The Agriculture program has expanded from one Associate in Applied Science Degree in Agriculture to four AAS degrees.” The new degrees include Agriculture Business, Animal Science, Plant and Soil Science, and Dairy Science.
Recently, the Horticulture also added two new certificates that will be available this fall. These new programs include Landscape and Turfgrass Operations and Greenhouse and Nursery Production. Both programs are expected to contribute to the overall growth of the KC Horticulture Program.
The new facility will also allow the KC Agriculture Programs to increase local partnerships with many other agriculture education partners. It is the hopes of the program to increase cooperative efforts with the local Farm Bureaus, the University of Illinois Extension, the Illinois FFA Chapters and any other groups that are willing to partner to promote agriculture and horticulture.
Heinzmann adds, “We hope to serve the local community as well as the staff at the Animal Disease Lab did for so many years”.
For more information, contact Aaron Heinzmann at 545-3381 or Bill Waggoner at 545-3185.