After several years, hard work and raising funds, Eastern Wyoming College is building a home for agriculture.
The college in Torrington, Wyo., broke ground on the new Agricultural Technology Education Center (ATEC) building on Jan. 31, with board members, faculty, students and community members in attendance.
“The idea really began with our Ag Advisory Board, who said we needed an ag facility,” said Rick Vonburg, retired EWC agriculture instructor and a member of the EWC Foundation. “With the facility, we’ll hopefully attract more students with programs we’ll be able to develop at the facility.”
The ATEC building will feature agriculture programs with state-of-the-art lab and facilities and include precision agriculture.
While the idea was there it took almost four years for the dream to become reality.
“The process has been very involved, the first thing that started it was the Goshen County voters, who passed and supported a $3.3 million general obligation bonds,” said John Hansen director of institutional development at EWC.
The building is 25,614 sq ft, which will include a demonstration area, seminar and conference area, commons, offices, and classroom and lab area.
“One of the things we’ll really expand here is precision ag and plant science,” Hansen said. “One of the great things about the facility is it’s multi-dimensional, multi-use, we’ll be able to host conferences and we have an auditorium that will seat 185 people.”
He added instructors will also be able to bring in livestock for classroom experiences.
While the building is breaking ground, the campaign still has $440,000 left to raise, which will mostly be for furniture, fixtures, and equipment.
“We want to have the best technology to be able to meet the needs of the students and a changing economy,” Hansen said.
Construction is scheduled to begin in April of this year and the first classes are expected to be held August 2020.