As long as there has been a veterinary school at University of Georgia, there has been a veterinary teaching hospital, and in spring of 2015, a new expansion on the current teaching hospital will open to provide further enrichment to the school’s students, patients and clients.
Opened in 1970, the current teaching hospital has grown too crowded and overtaxed due to increasing patient caseload and student enrollment. The space problem became apparent by 1998 and a larger expansion was proposed.
“It was adequate at that point, but would not be adequate for much longer,” said Sheila Allen, the dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine at UGA.
The problem was addressed soon after, beginning with a feasibility study to determine whether to add an annex on to the existing building or to create a completely new building.
State funding and donations from alumni, grateful clients and supportive foundations provided the means to begin construction on a completely new complex located on College Station Road– a location chosen for its ease of access from the bypass and proximity to UGA’s main campus.
The new teaching hospital will be much larger and provide more complete amenities for the school’s students and patients. Improvements include facilities in which to better separate sick and healthy animals, advanced CT and MRI imaging and an improved cancer treatment facility.
The new facility will also have a spacious arena for the evaluation of large animals, namely horses and cows, in order to diagnose and monitor the animals’ condition.
“Currently, the only place we have to do this in is an asphalt parking lot,” Allen said, “The new facility will be much more comfortable for both our patients and our clients.”
Presently, the entirety of the school’s student body, faculty and staff is housed in the existing building. The new facility will incorporate third and fourth year students while the present hospital will remain as a teaching facility for first and second year veterinary students.
“We’re kind of cramped right now,” Allen said, “In this way, we’re basically splitting the college in half.”
Further, the walls of the new facility will be adorned with the winning pictures from the veterinary teaching hospital’s 2014 ‘Picture Your Pet’ photo contest.
Through the big changes that are just around the corner for the veterinary school, more space will be available to continue providing specialized care and education for the school’s students and clients.