A new animal husbandry lab will be offered at Southwestern High School next year, as an addition to the school's animal science curriculum.

Animal husbandry involves the raising and management of animals for a profit.

The course, designed by agriculture teacher Greg Schneider, was developed because a similar class, veterinary careers, had requirement changes and agriculture teachers will no longer be allowed to teach the course.

"The experience I had with that, with the service learning with a multiple hour class has been tremendous and I would like to duplicate that as closely as I can," Schneider told the Southwestern School Board on Tuesday.

Schneider said the new course will provide hands-on experience in the field of animal science, and will include a variety of activities and laboratory work.

The board approved the new class with a 4-0 vote. Board member Jodi Gray was absent.

Schneider also provided an update on the Community Calf Project, which allows students to raise and care for calves until the animals reach maturity and are taken to a processor.

Once the animals are slaughtered, the meat is given to the Gleaners Food Bank at Southwestern. 

Schneider said there are currently seven calves in different phases of the project being cared for by students. 

The program also received several grants, including a $30,000 grant from Dow Agroscience to be paid out in three installments of $10,000 in a three-year period.

Schneider also said that he hopes to be able to bring agriculture, animal science courses and the Community Calf Project under one roof in the future.

"That's the direction I'm hoping to take this," he told the board.

Also at the meeting, the board received an update from the middle and high school athletic director, Tom Scoggins.

At last month's school board meeting, Scroggins gave the board a quote from Gosman Inc. for a 70-by-120-foot building that would cost $487,000. The building would serve as a second gym.

This month Scroggins presented a quote from Graber Post Building Inc. The bid for a 100-by-160 foot building was $1.14 million.

Scroggins told the board that the middle and high school have roughly 488 student athletes.

"That's almost 69 percent of the student body that would be positively affected by building a second gym," he said.

Scroggins said an auxiliary gym would ease scheduling for after-school sports and practices.

In other business:

• The board voted to approve Cloud's Lawn Care, LLC to provide mowing and trimming of the campus grounds, including baseball and softball fields. Southwestern staff handled the lawn care previously.

Superintendent Steve Telfer said switching services would save the school district more than $12,000 for the 30-week period between April and October when the property would need mowing.

The board approved the plan 3-1, with board member Cree Green voting no.

• The school district received a $10,000 grant from Duke Energy for the school's LEGO Robotics program that runs during summer and fall breaks.

Elementary School principal Jason Watson said the grant will allow the school to expand the program throughout Jefferson County.

A press release issued by Kathy Huffman and EcO15 said the grant will allow the number of students participating to quadruple.

"Demand for the camp was evident in the number of students on waiting list the last two summers," Huffman said.