Posted: 2022-03-06 12:41:56
Modified: 06/03/2022 12:41:22
TURNERS FALLS – Students at Franklin County Technical School are hard at work clearing approximately 1.5 acres of land to make way for a new veterinary clinic and lab.
The building, which is expected to be completed in early 2023, will be a 4,800 square foot steel structure that will house a working veterinary clinic, a full line of lab equipment, a pet supply store and more. again. Superintendent Rick Martin and the veterinary science staff view the project as a much-needed upgrade for a program that is still in its infancy.
Instructors Regina Parsons and Kimberly Barry said the vet program, which was established in 2019, has grown significantly year on year. Martin explained that this was due to the addition of a class of students to the program each year, with the 2019 ninth graders being the inaugural class and each subsequent freshman class joining thereafter. The current study space, consisting of a small, more traditional classroom lined with high-tech equipment that looks out of place, adds to the need for accommodation.
“Because it’s so new,” Parsons said, “we don’t really have the frameworks to build on.”
Last week, the need for a new facility was all the more evident, staff agreed. On Tuesday, a goat gave birth unexpectedly and members of the veterinary program marveled when the animal successfully delivered on the classroom floor.
“It was a life lesson. It’s huge,” Barry said, noting that a state-of-the-art facility would give students greater flexibility to adapt to various situations.
Martin expressed his willingness to make a major investment of time and money in the veterinary program. In addition to securing $300,000 in equipment financing, $100,000 in lighting financing, and reducing the potential construction cost to $1 million for what could have been a $4 or $5 million project With the help of capital stabilization funds, Martin said he dove deep into research to maximize the facility’s potential.
“I probably spent a year going to every vet lab in the state that was in a school, saying, ‘I want this! I want this!'” Martin said, noting that Franklin Tech currently owns the most needed equipment.
Although the school currently has study space and an array of laboratory equipment, it has never had a functioning clinic that serves outside clients. In addition to granting students adaptability and technical abilities, Parsons said, the addition of an operational clinic will help students “dive in” as they engage in more real-world application of their skills.
“Students hate using the phone,” Barry said as an example. “Guess what? You have to use the phone.
Martin said he plans to discuss with an industry advisory board the capacity in which the Franklin Tech clinic should serve customers.
“We don’t want to compete with other established veterinary clinics,” Martin noted. “This is strictly an educational institution.”
Martin said he had already acquired the necessary building materials and engaged in preliminary design phases with an architect. No construction company has yet been contracted to carry out the construction process, but as is traditionally the case with the vocational school, their own students will be called upon to work.
“Our students will even help when we bring in a company,” he said.
Reach Julian Mendoza at 413-772-0261, ext. 261 or firstname.lastname@example.org.