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Heifer campus will be the spot for Lyon College’s coming dental and veterinary schools – Arkansas Times

No official announcement will be made until Thursday, but multiple sources say the purchaser of the Heifer International campus in Little Rock is  Lyon College, which will put planned dental and veterinary schools there.

The tiny Batesville-based college announced last month that it was exploring beginning these programs, which Arkansas currently lacks. It said it had sites in Little Rock in mind for the schools, which are to be part of an Institute of Health Sciences.

From its announcement:

Lyon College announced it has begun developing plans for proposed veterinary and dental schools located in Little Rock, Ark. The schools will be part of the new Lyon College Institute of Health Sciences.

The College’s faculty assembly and Board of Trustees approved both proposals in March, and the proposals for academic changes were submitted to the College’s regional accreditor, the Higher Learning Commission (HLC), on Tuesday, March 15. Following consideration by HLC, the College will submit the prepared accreditation applications with both the American Veterinary Medical Association’s Council on Education (COE) and the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA). Pending the accreditors’ approval, inaugural classes could start as early as 2024 or 2025.

Lyon has identified several potential locations in Little Rock and should finalize the location for the campus soon.

To ensure the success of the schools’ openings, Lyon College has entered into a strategic collaboration with OneHealth Education Group (OneHealth). OneHealth utilizes private sector capital and consultant solutions to support the launch of professional health science programs. The group aims to reduce the debt burden of graduating professionals and to provide solutions for communities that lack ample access to healthcare.

Note the description in today’s announcement by Heifer:

The new owners approached us with a shared vision of the campus as a thriving center for education and learning at the heart of the city and will soon announce their plans for the site. The facilities they will offer will bring new opportunities to Little Rock, aligning nicely with Heifer International’s core values of caring for people, animals and the environment.

Democrat-Gazette columnist Rex Nelson made the first reference I saw — “much more solid than a rumor,” he said on Facebook — to Lyon College’s use of the Heifer property. Multiple sources have since confirmed that Lyon is indeed the purchaser, no one is willing to speak for the record until Thursday’s announcement.

I sent a question to Lyon College’s president, Dr. Melissa Taverner, and a spokesman for Heifer. I haven’t heard back. I noted that Dr. Taverner’s resume includes, in addition to biology and virology degrees, a Ph.D. in environmental science.

Heifer declined to provide further information.

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