Amidst a cluster of buildings off highway 89 in Wellsville is an open space of ground surrounded by wooden stakes. This area will soon be classroom space for students in Utah State University's College of Agriculture and Applied Sciences. This space and the two buildings closest to it were given a name Tuesday morning- the Sam Skaggs Family Equine Education Center.
USU provost Noelle Cockett, formerly the dean of the College of Ag, helped plan the project in 2007. The building of the center began in 2009, and Cockett spoke at the groundbreaking about the completion of the project.
"So now we have the groundbreaking for the classroom. And I noticed on the invitation it said the 'final phase' of the Equine Education Center. I don't know if that's actually true about horses, isn't there always something more you can buy for horses? But really I think this will be the last jewel in what is an amazing center," Cockett said.
The center covers 26 acres, including an indoor arena and a large barn. The new building will have two classrooms, faculty offices and a tack room. The space will be used to continue training and educating students in the Ag program- from the equestrian teams and rodeo club, to the equine veterinary program. The center will also be used by 4-H groups and extension programs for people of all ages.
Cockett says she expects the new facilities will help bring the Animal and Dairy Veterinary Sciences Program bring attention to itself.
"We now have the potential for building something more at USU besides a riding and training program. So it certainly will not be a surprise to me if, in a few years, based on our facility, based on the personnel that we have involved here, and based on the faculty we now have in the ADVS department that we will be renowned as a horse program that, as a specialty, who knows, in reproduction of horses. So I look forward to that," she said.
The facility is scheduled to be complete by the time students return to Utah State in late August.