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Lakeland College Dairy Learning Center
Vermilion, Vermilion

State-of-the-art in construction and technology

The ultra-modern Lakeland College Dairy Learning Centre in Vermilion, Alberta replaces the previous dairy facility built in the 1980s. Accommodating 280 cattle, it features state-of-the-art technology in robotic and conventional milking and feeding systems, giving students the most current training to be leaders in the dairy industry.

By Taylor Hermiston

Alberta Milk, a non-profit organization that represents Alberta’s dairy producers, was a key partner in making the centre a reality, along with federal funding through the Post-Secondary Institutions Strategic
Investment Fund.

While the 4,270 sq.m [46,600 sq. ft.] facility will be used mainly by students in the dairy major of the animal science technology program, hundreds of other Lakeland students from agribusiness, crop technology, veterinary medical assistant, and other areas will use it to study animal handling systems, practice blood collection procedures, and get experience working with large animals. In addition, the facility will offer continuing education courses to professionals in the industry.

The building includes: conventional and robotic milking systems, a robotic feeding system, silage storage and a four-bay commodity shed and storage bins, a manure management system, calf pens, classrooms, showers, lockers and an office.

Energy efficiency was also incorporated in the form of LED lighting with auto dimming, a skylight along the full length of the building to reduce lighting loads, a natural ventilation system with fan support, automated side wall curtain and ridge chimney vents, and heat exchange plates to lower the temperature of milk from the udder and transfer the heat for other purposes. With experience in constructing agricultural buildings, Eagle Builders in Blackfalds, Alberta was brought in to supply the precast concrete components and to erect the building.

Precast concrete offered low maintenance and high durability, corrosion resistance in the high humidity conditions, and rapid construction; the building shell was erected in two weeks and fully completed in five months.

The components consisted of: load-bearing structural insulated panels for the perimeter walls manufactured with a formliner to simulate wood grain and solid interior wall panels, all resting on a cast-in-place concrete slab and a wood-frame roof. The precast concrete panels vary between 140 to 250 millimeters [5.5 to 10 inches] thick.

Taylor Hermiston is with Lakeland College.

Photos courtesy of Eagle Builders
Lakeland College
Grubb Engineering
Eagle Builders
Precast Supplier:
Eagle Builders
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