Photo/ Adam Louis - Keith Jarvis explains plans to EWC Trustee Mike Varney during a tour of the college’s north campus last Tuesday afternoon. College officials are planning north campus expansions such as high-tunnel greenhouses and a livestock barn.
TORRINGTON – Eastern Wyoming College officials could start to see the fruits of their agriculture expansion labor as early as this summer.
The EWC Board of Trustees approved the construction of the Agricultural Technology Education Center on the college’s north campus.
The board’s action is one more step toward a project several years in the making: expansion of the north campus for veterinary technology and agriculture use.
The 23,000-square-foot ATEC would mainly consist of a large, open interior to be used for such educational purposes as farrier science, livestock judging and demonstration, as well as agricultural mechanics. The facility would also include a learning kitchen. EWC President Tom Armstrong said the college is working to secure funding for the facility.
Looking forward, the college would bring the ATEC proposal to the Wyoming Community College Commission for its consideration in August.
“Its going to be an excellent facility for Torrington and the region,” Armstrong said of ATEC. “I think it will bring some interest to the (agriculture and vet tech programs).”
The north campus sits on about 20 acres, comprised of corrals, shelters, hay storage and a facility for large animal surgery and care.
Armstrong said the college is also planning to build three high-tunnel greenhouses, to be completed in time for the fall semester. The high-tunnels would be used for agricultural courses, such as agroecology, and crop and soil studies. The college is planning a different design for each high-tunnel to allow for more research possibilities.
Dee Ludwig, EWC vice president of learning, said construction on the high-tunnels is slated for Sept. 10. The college plans to invite community members and students for an educational experience in building high-tunnels.
The college is also planning a steel livestock barn, measuring 32 by 60 feet with 12-foot sidewalls. The barn would consist of six portable pens and a feed storage area.
Ludwig said the barn would provide a hands-on experience for the students and would house mainly sheep, hogs and possibly larger livestock. She added the EWC Foundation worked closely with college officials to secure funding for the barn.
In other action:
The board approved Kaitlyn Sullivan to the position of agriculture instructor, Mai Lee Holmes to the position of admissions coordinator and Michael DeMers to the position of music instructor.
The board approved position upgrades for Information Technology Coordinator Chuck Kenyon and Purchasing Coordinator Clyde Woods.
Ludwig and Science Division Chair Chris Wenzel detailed program reviews for the college’s mathematics and Certified Nursing Assistant programs. All programs are reviewed on a three-year, rotating basis.
Enrollment in the college’s math program has grown during the past three academic years, surpassing the five-year average of about 194 students in the 2009-10 and 2010-11 academic years. There have been no graduates from the program in the past three years; however, the department provides general education support for all education programs. The faculty recommended continuing work on professional and course development.
The CNA program also reported growth during the past three years, growing from 74 students in the 2008-09 academic year to 145 students in 2010-11. The program was approved in May 2004 to respond to growing workforce demand. The faculty recommends communicating with EWC outreach officials regularly to ensure needs on outreach campuses are met as well as continued professional development and pursuing alternate financial assistance options for students.
Bob Cox, vice president for finance and administrative services, said the college recognized about $13.7 million in operational fund revenue, comprising almost 99 percent of the budget, most of which comes from state aid. Expenditures were at about $11.9 million, about 93 percent of the operational budget.
The next regular board of trustees meeting is July 18 at 5:45 p.m. at the Dolores Kaufman Board Room.
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