Gaston College Veterinary Medical Technology program has a new home
Students in the Gaston College Veterinary Medical Technology program started taking classes in the new Veterinary Medical Technology building on the College’s Dallas campus on the first day of the fall 2020 semester in late August. The building gives the growing program larger, more modern facilities than those in the off-campus site that housed the program for over 16 years.
Having the Vet Tech building on campus rather than off-site will allow students to be a part of the college community where they will have better access to the resources the College offers and to student functions. Construction on the 15,665 square foot building began in December 2018. Project completion, scheduled for early 2020, was delayed slightly due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The new facility includes an administrative area with two offices, a work room, and a student area that comprises one general and one computer classroom that will accommodate 56 students each and a student lounge/break room/locker room area. In addition, the front building area features a reception area, three exam rooms, a cat condo and a cat exercise area. The back building area includes a treatment area, oxygen tank storage room, two surgery suites, a pack scrub room, radiology, interior dog runs, an exercise yard, a pharmacy area, food prep/laundry areas, a large training lab, and receiving and storage areas.
In August 2019, the Gaston College Foundation launched a Brick Campaign to encourage community support for the Vet Tech building project. Donors to the campaign were asked to purchase bricks for use in the sidewalk in front of the building. For a contribution of $250, the bricks would be inscribed with the donor’s name and/or brief message. Some benefactors also sponsored rooms in the Vet Tech building. Overall, the Foundation has raised more than $35,000 to supplement funding received from the state of North Carolina. Luke Upchurch, Executive Director of the Foundation and Chief Development Officer for Gaston College said, “I am grateful for the community support of the project that will provide state–of–the–art training for students to assist veterinarians in keeping our furry, feathered, and scaly family members healthy.”
“I am so incredibly grateful to the community and the College for their support of our program,” said Melanie Skinner, Director of Veterinary Technology. “I have been extremely touched by the number of people who have contributed their time and their money to our program.”
Each year since 2017, BestColleges.com has ranked the Gaston College Veterinary Medical Technology program as the 14th best in the United States.
“Our Vet Tech program has consistently been ranked as among the top programs in the United States,” said Dr. John Hauser, President of Gaston College. “We are excited that this new building will give our students the opportunity to learn and train in a state-of-the-art facility that will expand our program’s effectiveness.”
The Gaston College Veterinary Medical Technology program is accredited by the American Veterinary Medicine Association Committee on Veterinary Technician Education and Activities. The accreditation must be renewed every six years, and typically a site team visits the facility for two days. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the renewal process scheduled for 2020 was done virtually on November 18 and 19. Although the results will not be announced until the committee meets in April 2021, Skinner reports that “they were very complimentary about our new facility and said many programs would be envious.”
The Gaston College Veterinary Medical Technology program trains individuals to assist veterinarians in preparing animals, equipment, and medications for examination and surgery; collecting specimens; performing laboratory, radiographic, anesthetic, and dental procedures; assisting in surgery; and providing proper husbandry of animals and their environment. Graduates of the program earn an Associate of Applied Science degree and are eligible to take the National Veterinary Technician Exam and the State Licensing Examination given by the N.C. Veterinary Medical Board. Veterinary Technicians have a skill set equivalent to that of Registered Nurses who treat human patients. For more information about the Veterinary Medical Technology program, contact Melanie Skinner at firstname.lastname@example.org or 704-922-6393.