Illinois Department of Agriculture Director Robert F. Flider was at Kaskaskia College to formally sign documents that turned over the building that formerly housed the state’s animal disease lab, located on the College’s main campus, to KC. The College plans to utilize the 48,000 square foot structure to house KC’s expanding Agriculture program.
“We are thankful the Department of Agriculture and Central Management Services focused on education for the future of this building,” said Kaskaskia College President Dr. Jim Underwood. “With the expansion of our programs, and the job opportunities that are available through agriculture, we have seen a large increase in enrollment in the Ag program over the past few years. The Kaskaskia College Agriculture Education Center will allow us to expand those programs even more as well as offer career training in new fields.” Dr. Underwood added, “I also wanted to thank Director Flider, Terry Schierholtz with CMS and others in the Department of Agriculture and CMS for supporting this transfer.” Dr. Underwood also thanked State Representative John Cavaletto for his help in facilitating the transfer of the building.
“This is the best possible outcome to a difficult situation,” Agriculture Director Bob Flider said. “The decision to consolidate the agriculture department’s animal disease labs wasn’t our preference, but was absolutely necessary because of the state’s fiscal troubles. It’s gratifying to know that the Centralia lab not only will be used, but also will enable Kaskaskia College to expand its Ag education program and help prepare future generations of farmers.”
Plans are already underway to begin minor renovations for classroom and lab use during the Spring, with the first classes scheduled to begin in the new building in the Fall of 2014.
Although traditionally related with farming, there are more than two hundred challenging and rewarding careers tied to the agriculture industry ranging from research and development to banking to farm operation. To meet these needs, Kaskaskia College has added new programs and expanded others to offer students more opportunities, while at the same time continuing to expand in traditional areas. In the past few years KC has become nationally and internationally known for its Dairy Judging Team which has bested some of the top four year colleges and universities in the nation. KC’s Livestock Judging Team won the national championship for 2013.