Plans are to improve office space and add training and educational facilities for visitors from the United States and abroad.

Carthage Veterinary Services (CVS), Ltd. has taken a bold step to improve its veterinary and educational outreach. The Carthage, IL-based business has formed Prairieland Investment Group and purchased a 23-acre college campus site for business development and office space.

The site, originally Carthage College, dates back to 1870. It has had two other owners since then, but the facilities have sat virtually idle for the past 15 years, reports CVS co-owner Doug Groth, DVM.

CVS will develop the campus to provide a working, learning, advancement and recreational environment to enhance service and personal development of the CVS group and its affiliate, Professional Swine Management, LLC (PSM).

Groth says the most immediate need is expansion of office space for 45 CVS fulltime staff members and 10 part-timers. Those professionals support another 600 farm production staff workers and associates. He says as the CVS system grows, more accounting and human resources employees are hired. CVS just hired its ninth swine veterinarian, Dyneah Augsburger, a recent graduate of the University of Illinois.

The campus will also serve as a training and learning center for production employees, allied industry, other industry professionals and visitors from around the globe.

The learning center will provide skill sets combining classroom education, modular real-time facilities, training CDs and in-barn education.

Living facilities will be developed to house people for the training programs and for farm staffing. Housing for interns and visiting faculty will also be available.

The library will be refurbished for receptions, banquets, conferences and meetings.

The gymnasium will be developed as recreational facilities for CVS employees, visitors, interns and people in educational programs.

The auditorium will be renovated for use in a multitude of educational functions and possibly become the future home of the Annual CVS Swine Conference, held at the end of August.

An International Business Technology Center is also being considered for development on the campus.

Site Renovations

Plans are to move into renovated office space in about a year or so. But the rest of the renovation will take two to five years to complete, Groth says.

While the basic brickwork of the college's buildings provides a sound exterior, most buildings will have to be gutted and refurbished before they are habitable, he explains. Buildings range in age from the oldest dating back to 1906, to most of the administrative facilities that were built in the 1940s. The four-story dormitory known as Anthony Hall, which will be converted into CVS/PSM office space, was erected in 1946.

The grounds are virtually overrun with trees and vegetation, which will require some detailed landscaping. CVS staff has been keeping the grounds mowed.

The town of Carthage, IL, (population 2,500) has embraced this development with open arms, Groth notes. Three local banks have joined forces to finance this multi-million-dollar project.

Groth says the college complex will establish a first for a U.S. swine veterinary clinic in offering a comfortable environment for training and retraining employees, and providing a natural extension of CVS production training in a hands-on environment.

And the community will share in the rewards, as they will be able to utilize facilities for a variety of social and recreational events, Groth says.