New John Wood Community College Agricultural Sciences Complex now open ahead of the fall semester

Published: Aug. 9, 2022 at 6:54 PM CDT
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BAYLIS, Ill. (WGEM) - There’s a new learning facility for agriculture students at John Wood Community College that officially had its grand opening on Tuesday morning, just in time for the fall semester.

Hundreds of students, faculty, representatives, and donors came out to see the Agricultural Sciences Complex.

With a focus on caring for livestock, the facility will bring a hands-on learning experience that faculty said will better prepare students for the workforce.

The multipurpose facility includes agronomic research, a wide arena with livestock pens, updated equipment, classrooms, and additional space for seminars and things of that matter.

Sophomore Kylee Freeman said she looks forward to doing labs directly with the livestock.

“Last year as a freshman, I took an animal science class,” Freeman said. “And we did a lot of learning in classrooms and we did do some labs close around. But this animal care facility that we’re standing in is going to expand on that.”

Ag Program Chairman, Mike Tenhouse said this $2.5 million facility that was privately funded by the Orr Corporation and other donors, will allow students to do labs in a single space, rather than going to other locations.

“We have x-ray machines,” Tenhouse said. “And we just acquired another blood analysis machine, something a veterinarian will be able to use to train our students.”

Tenhouse said another goal of the expansion was to attract more students to campus.

Pittsfield High School junior, Wyatt McClintock who attended the opening, is among one of those students that’s considering it.

“I think I want to go into agricultural engineering,” McClintock said. “Something in that range, and I think here might be a good start.”

Moreover, Tenhouse said the facility will expand the agricultural industry in West Central Illinois.

“Some of the programming we do here will be handled on a regional basis,” Tenhouse said.

Tenhouse said among those regional partners will be the University of Illinois.

Orr Corporation’s chairman, Matt Bradshaw said so far, they have reached $2.1 million of the $2.5 million needed to finish work.

Bradshaw is also the son of Pike county farmer, Fred Bradshaw who was known for his work in agriculture.

The Learning Center portion of the complex is dedicated to Fred Bradshaw.

“It’s an honor for our father for all the work he’s completed for the last four decades,” Bradshaw said. “To establish the research farm here for the University of Illinois and incorporate the cooperative agreement with the John Wood Community College.”

JWCC faculty said the facility is set to have its first classes held on Aug. 23.

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