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  • Vermilion Voice

Animal Health Clinic Grand Opening

Second-year AHT student Haylie-Ann LaFrance (center) cuts the ribbon to open Lakeland College’s new Animal Health Clinic on Friday, Sept. 7. LaFrance is joined by (L-R) Elaine Suddaby, AHT program head; Josie Van Lent, dean of Lakeland’s School of Agricultural Sciences; Dr. Richard Starke, MLA for Vermilion-Lloydminster; Bryan Perkins, interim chair of Lakeland’s Board of Governors; Dr. Alice Wainwright-Stewart, president and CEO of Lakeland College; Jamie Curran, assistant deputy minister of Livestock and Crops Division, Alberta Agriculture and Forestry; Dr. Margitta Dziwenka, ABVMA past president; and Brianne Bellwood, VMA program head. More photos on page 2. Photo submitted

Lakeland College welcomed approximately 300 dignitaries, supporters, and area residents to the Grand Opening of their new $8.2 million Animal Health Clinic in Vermilion on September 7. The cutting-edge facility will offer students access to approximately $1.3 million in innovative equipment including canine and feline SynDaver models, realistic equine models, a direct digital radiography x-ray system, and a bovine ultrasound machine with BCF universal goggles. Lakeland College will be the first organization in Alberta to use the synthetic canine cadaver for training, and the first in the world to use SynDaver’s CopyCat synthetic feline cadaver for training. During the tour, Mike Rhiness from SynDaver in Calgary even encouraged guests to feel the pulse of the synthetic canine cadaver. “You can replicate things they may not normally have access to, mimicking the properties of a live dog,” said Rhiness. The 14,531 sq. ft. facility is designed to reflect an operational clinic and will be used as a student-led clinic. The building features increased lab space, animal wards, a dental lab, and a modern surgical suite. The building has monumental upgrades in comparison to the old building which was built in the 1960’s and was originally a barn. With room for an additional 30 animal health technology and veterinary medical assistant students among its’ primarily users, some of the labs will also be utilized by students in other programs at Lakeland College. “People and society are healthier with animals. The programs here are so well run with professionalism and heart. When you have a facility like this, the quality of graduates is beyond where they are today. Because they have learned to strengthen the bond between people and animals and care for these animals in a humane, proper, and caring way, they will go on to be leading clinics,” said MLA Dr. Richard Starke. Minister of Advanced Education, Marlin Schmidt, sent a congratulatory letter on behalf of Premier Notley, and MP Shannon Stubbs wrote, “This facility is an amazing advancement for Lakeland College.” Lakeland College President and CEO, Alice Wainwright-Stewart noted that the project was completed within 16 months and said, “The clinic is our latest example of innovation and excellence. On behalf of Lakeland College, thank you to the Government of Canada, Government of Alberta, and all of our supporters. Hailey LaFrance, second-year animal health technology student, already completed the veterinary medical assistant program in the old clinic said, “Lakeland College has the best veterinary technician program out there. I’m grateful to be a part of this experience and am looking forward to broadening my skill set. By using this brand new equipment, I will acquire skills that I will carry with me into the workforce.”

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