Northeast Iowa Community College (NICC) will hold an open house Thursday, March 21, to highlight the Large Animal Veterinary Technician Program and the newly completed labs at Iowa's Dairy Center, located at 1527 Hwy. 150, situated south of the Calmar campus.

The event will be held from 4 - 6 p.m., is free and open to the public, and features a short presentation and ribbon cutting at 4:15 p.m. Refreshments will be served.

The construction of the new lab areas at the center was made possible in part by Accelerated Career Education (ACE) Program state funding and offers Associate of Applied Science (AAS)-Large Animal Veterinary Technician students, as well as students enrolled in all NICC agriculture programs that involve livestock, a variety of specialized, enhanced learning opportunities.

The two additional lab spaces include a necropsy lab and an analysis lab area.

Necropsy is an examination and dissection of a dead body to determine cause of death or the changes produced by disease, similar to an autopsy; however, in this context the term refers to postmortem examinations on animals.

The state-of-the-art necropsy lab features a garage door-style entrance on one wall that allows staff and faculty to transport livestock into the lab, a floor with drain capacity and a camera mounted on the ceiling to record lab work and procedures.

"Students who may have missed a lab session will be able to review lab work that the camera records, which is also displayed on a flat screen monitor in the analysis room next door," said Dr. Christopher Harvey, a licensed veterinarian who instructs students in many agriculture programs, including the Large Animal Veterinary Technician program. "Students in the Animal Health, Diagnostics, and Large Animal Surgery and Imaging courses will benefit greatly from the new necropsy lab and analysis room areas," Harvey said.

The analysis lab offers students hands-on experience in analyzing and preparing blood and animal tissue samples, such as those that would be sent to state and federal agencies. Students will have the ability to conduct their own smears and blood pathology work using advanced digital microscopes and testing equipment in their studies. The microscope in the analysis area also has visual output capabilities and displays images on a monitor for faculty and students to review.

In addition to the Large Animal Veterinary Technician program, students in the Dairy Science, Companion Animal Science, Pre-Veterinary Medicine and Animal Science programs also will derive educational and training benefit from the new areas. For more information on programs within the college's Agriculture and Animal Science career cluster, visit www.nicc.edu/agprograms.