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Rangeland Lab is a game changer

October 27, 2016

Anthony Perlinski , assistant professor of Applied Sciences, instructs students in soil saturation in the Rangeland Lab, Oct. 24, 2016.  (Photo by Conor Casey/Chadron State College) Anthony Perlinski , assistant professor of Applied Sciences, instructs students in soil saturation in the Rangeland Lab, Oct. 24, 2016. (Photo by Conor Casey/Chadron State College)

CHADRON – After more than a decade of planning by Chadron State College students, faculty and administrators, ground was broken for the Rangeland Complex in September 2012. The Rangeland Lab, partially funded by the private contributions of Vision 2011, led by the Chadron State Foundation, opened to students this fall.

The $2.9 million Coffee Agriculture Pavilion features a 25,000 square foot space for livestock classes and rodeo practice. It opened in December 2013 and the complex was dedicated Sept. 26, 2015.

The state of Nebraska helped to support construction of the $4 million Rangeland Lab with a walk-in cooler, a walk-in freezer, two dedicated laboratory spaces for animal dissection and observation, and soil analysis labs, while the Chadron State Foundation raised an additional $600,000 for equipment.

Dr. Joel Hyer, dean of Business, Entrepreneurship, Applied and Mathematical Sciences and Sciences, said the facility will be integral in propelling the rangeland program, one of the largest in the nation, to the next level.

“This is going to be a game-changer for the program. The facilities certainly reflect CSC's commitment to teaching and learning. They are a visible reminder of who we are as an institution. We are a teaching and learning institution,” Hyer said. “Our faculty will be better equipped to provide learning activities that students will never forget.”

In addition to the classrooms and laboratories, the surrounding land is being utilized as a living lab.

“I couldn't imagine a more perfect setting and it will be used as a living lab,” Hyer said.

Dr. Teresa Frink, CSC applied sciences department chair and professor, teaches rangeland and wildlife classes in the new facility. Frink recognizes the new building as a blessing.

“Previously, we had a sort of a primitive dissecting table, no running water or ventilation. The Rangeland Center not only offers new technology like a downdraft necropsy table, but also allows students to practice and learn in safer conditions,” she said.

Shelby Nagle of Circle, Montana, is taking mammology with Frink in the Rangeland Lab. Nagle, a pre-vet major in her senior year, enjoys the accessibility and technology the new facility affords.

“The new building is much more accommodating than Burkhiser. Especially for the labs with the new dissection table and space we are able to do hands-on things and apply what we learn directly,” Nagle said.

Laure Sinn, coordinator of the Rangeland program, has seen the building’s progress from its earliest stages. Now that the Complex is fully functioning, Sinn sees the students enjoying it in all capacities.

“The Rangeland Complex is a great place for students to not only study and go to class, but to hang out. The building itself is awesome, and we also have the best views on campus,” Sinn said.

—Conor P. Casey, Graduate Assistant, and Tena L. Cook, Marketing Coordinator

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