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Black Hawk College Proposes Veterinary Technician Center

Black Hawk College wants to help train the next generation of veterinary assistants. Tonight, the board of trustees will vote on funding for a new Veterinary Technician Center at the east campus near Kewanee. 

Interim president, Dr. Bettie Truitt, says the building would support a new 2-year degree program in veterinary technology and two certificate programs for veterinary assistants. She calls them high demand programs that'll give graduates a "nice paycheck."

"The building and the new program is a really good fit for us and a good fit for the community, especially with the rural constituencies that we have out in the Galva/Kewanee area."

The number of jobs in these professions are expected to increase 30% over the next 10 years, with graduates working in veterinary hospitals and clinics, plus zoos and humane societies, and academia. Trustees will consider borrowing $9.7 million to build the new veterinary technician center. The money would also pay for new equipment and technology.  

"What we're looking at in addition to those basic requirements is: Do we have a lab space that would be available for small animals--possibly even some area for larger animals? And we're definitely in need of additional square footage to meet the needs of students for the lab spaces," Dr. Truitt says.

If approved, Truitt hopes Black Hawk College can begin construction sometime next year.

Currently, 1,000 students attend classes at the east campus. Dr. Truitt anticipates 30 will enroll in the first veterinary assistant class.

Renata Sago is WMFE's general assignment reporter and occasional Morning Edition anchor. She covers everything from major political campaigns and unemployment to civil rights legislation and the performing arts for WMFE and NPR.
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