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Private funding making vision a reality
When the 25-year development plan for the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences’ South Campus was unveiled five years ago, it seemed that an impossible task was at hand. Ambitious in its scope, the plan sought to take the 85 acres surrounding the James L. Voss Veterinary Teaching Hospital and turn it into a comprehensive Veterinary Medical Complex by the year 2025.
The plan was approved by the University’s Board of Governors and the Colorado Commission on Higher Education. The land was available and ready for development. The next piece to put in place – funding. The College sought a combination of federal, state, University bond funds, and private funding to pay the estimated $160 million for Phase 1 of the South Campus construction.
“The existing Veterinary Teaching Hospital was completed in 1979, almost 30 years ago, and our programs have experienced explosive growth in the years since,” said Dr. Lance Perryman, Dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. “The purpose of our 25-year development plan was not to set unattainable goals, but to look into the future and using the tools we have make the best plans possible to prepare the College for the near- and long-term future.”
The first project undertaken, even before the 25-year plan was fully implemented, was the Animal Cancer Center (ACC) completed in 2002. The ACC is an addition to the main hospital, funded through private donations including a $4 million gift from the Flint family, longtime clients of the center. This was quickly followed by the Orthopaedic Research Center and the Gail Holmes Equine Orthopaedic Research Laboratory, located to the north of the existing hospital. In 2007, the Colorado State Legislature approved funding for the Diagnostic Medicine Center, a 90,000 square foot analytical and diagnostic laboratory. Construction began in the fall of 2007 with completion expected in 2009 at a total construction cost of $42 million.
In Fall 2007, the Radiation Therapy Suite at the Veterinary Teaching Hospital was remodeled and a new Varian Trilogy Linear Accelerator installed. Funds for this project came from the Animal Cancer Center, Department of Environmental and Radiological Health Sciences, the Colorado State University Research Foundation, and user fees. Colorado State University’s central administration will pay for a new entrance to the Veterinary Medical Center with new fencing and signage, as well as a realigned street entryway to better accommodate the hospital’s expanded parking lot which was completed in Fall 2007.
Other buildings in the near-term construction plan include the Professional Veterinary Medicine Building, which will house the second year Professional Veterinary Medical students as well as teaching and office space. The Professional Veterinary Medicine Building has received initial funding with a gift from Gene Jensen. Jensen graduated from Colorado A&M (now Colorado State University) in 1950 with a degree in civil engineering and coursework from the School of Veterinary Medicine to enter into environmental engineering and public health. Jensen and his wife Betty Ruth Shults gave the gift to honor the memory of Jensen’s first wife Esther Myrl Halstead.
The Community Practice building is a 32,000 square-foot planned addition to the Veterinary Teaching Hospital and will house the VTH Director and business office, community practice and exotic practice. Private funding is still being sought for this building. The Agricultural Animal Hospital is a planned 32,000 square-foot food animal medicine and surgery building to be built with funds currently committed by a generous donor.
“The support we have received to date for our development plan has been very encouraging and allowed us to complete a number of important projects, as well as begin construction or planning for others,” said Dr. Perryman. “Without the support of our private donors, our 25-year development plan would mostly remain wishful thinking. With their support, we have been able to turn those plans to reality.”