When the fall semester opened last week, even some returning students could be considered “new” students because they are learning in new classrooms and labs in the north wing of Blanca Peak.

As part of a $32 million makeover at the Larimer Campus, the wing in Blanca Peak now houses Veterinary Technology and Forestry, Wildlife, and Natural Resources.

Real-World Experiences in Veterinary Technology

Veterinary Technology’s new home is all about the student experience.

The experience is real, says Dr. Gwen Lombard, a veterinarian and faculty member in the popular career/technical program. With a new state-of-the-art surgery and surgery-prep area, it can be no other way.

“This is opening doors for the clinical experience,” Gwen says. “It’s set up so our students can have everything they will see in a professional clinic.”

The new space also includes a clinical classroom, dog wash area, and separate cat and dog kennel areas.

Students in the nationally accredited associate-degree Veterinary Technology program and the certificate-granting Veterinary Technician Assistant and Basic Laboratory Animal Care programs will learn in the new space.

Faculty also are excited about the new facilities, Gwen said. “It was amazing what the faculty could do before,” she said. They used masking tape in general classrooms to mark out areas for surgery, for example, or asked students to wipe down regular tables as if they were surgical tables. Now, it’s the real thing.

Flexibility for Forestry, Wildlife, and Natural Resources

Vet-Tech-2Faculty and students alike in Forestry, Wildlife, and Natural Resources appreciate close proximity of teaching tools. A glass display case in one classroom gives students the opportunity to study wildlife and forestry samples in the classroom itself. Previously, the samples were in a storage shed outside their classroom building and had to be brought into class.

Movable classroom furniture offers the opportunity to pull students and instructors together for working in groups.

“We can arrange the classroom into various modes,” said Jennifer Lee, lead faculty in the program.

A classroom sink also is a new feature. Students in hydrology classes no longer have to haul water into the classroom. Students doing soils labs or dissections also have a convenient place for cleanup.

And speaking of dissection. The previous location for dissection labs doubled as the computer lab. “Students no longer will dissect fish on a computer table,” Jennifer says. “That’s all we had before.” Now, there is a separate computer classroom.

By the way, the Wildlife Technology degree within this program also has national accreditation.

New Space Benefits High School Programs

The college programs aren’t the only programs liking this new space. College Now-Career Pathways, the career/technical high school program at the campus, uses the new space for Animal Technology and Research and Wildlife, Forestry, and Natural Resources.

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