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  • Vermilion Voice

Dairy Learning Centre Grand Opening

Photos Angela Mouly

Lakeland College welcomed approximately 500 community supporters, government and industry leaders to their Grand Opening of the new Dairy Learning Centre in Vermilion on August 22.

Dean of Agricultural Sciences, Josie Van Lent emceed the event and thanked the community for their support, Van Lent also thanked special guests Alberta Minister of Advanced Education-Marlin Schmidt, Chairman of Alberta Milk -Tom Koostra, Director of Eagle Builders-Craig Haan, Lakeland College Board Chair-Darrel Howell, Lakeland College President-Alice Wainwright-Stewart, former Premier-Ed Stelmach, Mayor-Bruce MacDuff, and County of Vermilion River Reeve-Daryl Watt.

Kristyn Child (center), animal science technology dairy major, Class of 2015, cuts the ribbon to officially open Lakeland College’s Dairy Learning Centre on Tuesday, Aug. 22. She was joined on stage by (L-R) Craig Haan-Director of Eagle Builders, Tom Kootstra-Chairman of Alberta Milk, Darrel Howell- Lakeland College Board Chair, Honourable Marlin Schmidt-Government of Alberta Minister of Advanced Education, Josie Van Lent-Dean of Lakeland College Agricultural Sciences, Alice Wainwright-Stewart-Lakeland College President and CEO, Daryl Watt Country of Vermilion River Reeve, and Bruce MacDuff-Town of Vermilion Mayor.

Photo supplied

“We look forward to the opportunities this brings,” said Van Lent, who noted that it would host students from Ontario to British Columbia in September.

Marlin Schmidt, the Minister of Advanced Education, was excited to learn that Alberta produces 650 million litres of milk per year and said, “This facility is amazing; a really exciting advance, the dairy industry is very important to Alberta.”

The honourable Marlin Schmidt-Government of Alberta Minister of Advanced Education.

The total cost of the facility was $9.5 million, of which, $3,467,500 was federally funded. The 46,600 square foot building holds both robotic and parlour milking systems as well as automatic feeding, and energy efficient touches including a skylight. The barn build took five months to complete.

On behalf of Eagle Builders, Craig Haan said that they would like to give back to an industry that has supported them. He went on to announce a $100,000 perpetual scholarship to a student leader of the Dairy Learning Centre. The scholarship will have $4,000 annually being given through a rigorous application and interview process to a student applying to manage the Lakeland College Dairy Learning Centre.

From left, past Lakeland College board chair-Mike Kotelko, Eagle Builders site manager-Robin Marshall, Josie Van Lent-Lakeland College dean of Agricultural Sciences, and Eagle Builders director-Craig Haan.

Lakeland College was extremely grateful to Alberta Milk for allowing them additional quota, allowing them to double their herd and increase students, a gift value equivalent to $5 million.

Tom Kootstra-Chairman of Alberta Milk and Darrel Howell-Lakeland College Board Chair.

“This is certainly a momentous occasion for us at Lakeland College. When I look at the generosity of those who enabled this facility, it’s mind boggling,” said Lakeland College President, Alice Wainwright-Stewart.

The new Dairy Learning Centre's parlour (left), and robotic milking system(right).

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