Nescot’s Animal Studies department has moved to a temporary home on the other side of the campus.
Animal Studies and Caretaking staff worked hard over the Christmas break to move scores of animals from the Animal Care Unit (ACU) to its new area as part of the college’s renovation programme.
The land previously occupied by the department has been sold in order to fund much-needed refurbishment across the college, as well as the creation of a skills park and new built environment facilities.
Adam Beral, Head of Animal Studies and Preparation for Life and Work, praised the staff who had given up their time off to get the new site ready for the students to return on January 5.
“We’ve spent a long time planning our new ACU and working out how to manage the move, and I’m really pleased with how everything has been going,” he added.
“We have a lot of new animals and some really great new facilities, so it’s an exciting time for the whole department and we’re all looking forward to getting up and running properly.
“This has also been a great opportunity for the students to be involved in projects that could be really useful later in their working lives, like building enclosures from scratch and monitoring animals for signs of stress.”
The new ACU facilities include a teaching block, changing rooms, a new Blue Cross cattery, kennels, stable yard, paddocks and enclosures for ferrets and poultry.
The main teaching block has a farm office and briefing room, where students on ‘animal duties’ will report to find out their responsibilities, as well as a preparation room with separate sinks for different groups of animals.
There is a small mammal room, with rabbits, guinea pigs, chinchillas and degus; a rodent room housing hamsters, rats, gerbils, mice and jirds; and an exotics room with snakes, geckos, salamanders, frogs, lizards, cockroaches, fish, terrapins and a tortoise.
Animals being cared for outside range from dogs and cats to chickens, ducks, pigs and sheep, with additional plans to accommodate prairie dogs and rescued donkeys and ponies.
Lessons are continuing as normal, with students undertaking their duties and practical sessions at the new site.
The Animal Studies department was previously based on land separated from the rest of the college by a train line, and difficult for people with limited mobility to access.
The ACU is now sited on land historically used by Horticulture courses, where it will remain until the major college building work is finished and it can move to its permanent home.