By Jared Crain, Campus Carrier Deputy News Editor
|Bailey Albertson | CAMPUS CARRIER|
Berry’s animal science program has flourished significantly over the past several years. Therefore, a new animal research facility has been high on the list of priorities for future improvements on campus.
Jay Daniel, department chair of animal science, explained that as the animal science program at Berry has grown, space and the opportunity for conducting appropriate research has dwindled.
“Animal science at Berry has been growing to the point that we have outgrown the Westcott building,” Daniel said. “We’re in need of more intensive research and a more direct means of teaching with animals.”
Therefore, construction of the new animal science laboratory near the Rollins Ruminant Research Center has commenced, and it is estimated to be ready for teaching and research by January of 2017.
The 4,600 square-foot facility will include two large semi-conditioned animal holding areas, one large enough for 10 head of cattle and the other appropriate for sheep, goats and poultry. It will also contain a research laboratory, storage space and a veterinary support room for storing medicines.
George Gallagher, professor of animal science, explained that the vision for the animal science laboratory began long before now.
“In reality, it initiated along with the Life Ready components, which were part of the planning council of 2009,” Gallagher said.
Senior animal science major Jason Hatfield said the new lab will positively contribute to the growing program and advance current accommodations.
“I think these new lab spaces will allow better learning opportunities for future students,” Hatfield said. “It will provide a more conducive environment to advanced labs and student involvement.”
The new laboratory, according to Gallagher, will be set up in a convenient space to satisfy the need for teaching and research enhancement for the program. The lab will be built in close proximity to three out of the four livestock units, nearer to the animals than the Westcott building.
Gallagher explained that the animal science laboratory will serve two primary functions for the enhancement of the program.
From a research aspect, he said, undergraduate studies will be conducted in safer facilities in an environment set up for production and expansion of research with more species, including cattle, goats, sheep and poultry.
From a teaching standpoint, it will be easier to move animals into a designated learning space and utilize the area separate from student-run enterprises.
Daniel agreed that the space has the potential to be multi-purposeful.
“It gives us a lot more flexibility with what we can do with students and animals,” he said.
Daniel mentioned that the laboratory could even have positive ramifications for individuals beyond the student community. He said that if a group of children make a field trip to Rollins from a local school, they will now have a convenient facility to move a few sheep into a comfier teaching atmosphere.