Lyon College bringing new vet and dental schools to Little Rock

Lyon College and One Health are the new owners of Heifer International, with officials announcing new veterinarian and dental schools will be coming to the building.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — We now know Lyon College and One Health will be the new owners of Heifer International in Little Rock’s East Village.

For Lyon College President Melissa Taverner, this is a step into the future for a building that they already have big plans for.

“I think it’s a major win for Arkansas and certainly for Little Rock, because this is going to meet a really serious educational need that is long standing in this state,” Taverner said. “It’s a great location and it’s going to be supportive in so many ways.”

Taverner said the need for those two programs is a big one.

“We see a need that is not just about, ‘oh we need more dentists,’ but there’s the why– because dental health is integral to overall health for people,” she said. 

The building will now be owned by Lyon, alongside One Health, who will act as consultants for the college. 

The plan for the building is that the top two floors will be leased to Heifer, while the bottom two will become the schools.

This is a good move for Heifer officials as it allows them to continue doing what they’ve always done.

“I’d like them to understand [that] Heifer is not leaving Arkansas. We are absolutely anchored here, we’re signing a long term lease,” Hillary Haddigan, Chief of Mission Effectiveness, said.

The anchor is something that’s crucial to Haddigan, as she said staying in Little Rock is important to them.

“Keeping with the purpose it was originally built for,” Haddigan said. “It brings in education focus and helps with developments that are going to benefit rural Arkansas and rural areas of the country.”

As for the specifics of the school, there are still two big questions that we don’t know yet. The first being the amount of money the building was sold for and the second being how many students will attend the schools.

Officials said that more information surrounding the building’s price should be available around August. 

As for the number of students, Taverner said that accreditors have to assess building resources and programs before they know class sizes.

Even with those questions still lingering around, Taverner said they want to focus on a big objective– keeping Arkansas students in the Natural State.

“I was serious when I said that this is going to be a destination location for professional training. We’re so happy that we can be a part of that,” she said.