School District Cuts Ribbon on New Livestock Center at W.B. Saul High School
Superintendent and Pa. Dept. of Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding Celebrate Dedication with School Principal, Teachers and Students
PHILADELPHIA — The School District of Philadelphia celebrated the dedication of the new, 3,900 square foot Livestock Center at W.B. Saul High School, the state’s only school focused on agriculture, horticulture, animal science and natural resources. Dr. William Hite, superintendent, was joined by Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding, Principal Alexa Dunn, teacher Gail Koskela, staff members, students, and representation from state Rep. Pam DeLissio’s office to cut the ribbon on the $1 million facility.
“We are excited about being able to provide important hands-on experiences to our students in such a modern, impressive facility,” said Dr. Hite. “These students will be prepared for college and career in one of the largest industries in the state. We are growing the next generation of scientists, veterinarians, farmers and horticulturalists right here in Philadelphia.”
In summer of 2018, the District broke ground on the facility, which replaces a barn that was on campus for more than 40 years. It now possesses amenities replicating industry standards. The building features flexible animal pens, dedicated medical and wash rooms for the animals, secure storage, toilet rooms and a student equipment room. It will enhance opportunities for learning animal reproduction and genetics, nutrition, anatomy and physiology, and animal behavior and husbandry to all of the 200 students who will have class there each year.
“This newly constructed barn is state of the art, just like the ag. ed. program at Saul High School,” said Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding. “And just as this program is advancing, so is Pennsylvania agriculture. It’s vital that education keeps pace with the industry. Because in ten years, we need access to skilled individuals who can continue powering agriculture forward.”
The Livestock Center is accessible, easy to maintain, and vastly improves site conditions. It was also designed to conserve energy and promote sustainability, with animal pens enclosed with agricultural curtains, screens and fans to facilitate ventilation to manage air quality while reducing energy consumption. In addition, rainwater from the roof will be captured in barrels and used to irrigate nearby crops.
“Everything that we do at Saul High School improves students’ level of excitement about and engagement in their education,” said Principal Dunn. “The new Livestock Center provides a facility that symbolizes our commitment to and support of these students who continue to represent the school, career and technical education, the field of agriculture, and the city. They are the future of the agriculture industry and we are so excited to have facilities that match the students’ interests and passion and will continue to propel them to greater heights of achievement in the field.”
In the school’s Animal Science program, which will utilize the Livestock Center, students are immersed in all aspects of care for the school’s large animals, including cows, horses, sheep and pigs, as well as companion and laboratory animals, such as rabbits, dogs and mice. Instruction also occurs in the fields and lab, as well as in the classroom. Feeding, grooming, handling and cleaning up after animals are all regular activities.
Advanced students also have the opportunity to prepare show animals for the annual Pennsylvania Farm Show in Harrisburg, the largest indoor agricultural event in the United States.
Saul High School has delivered high-quality career and technical education to students in grades nine through 12 since 1951.