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CSU OKs $278M expansion, upgrade at veterinary school

FORT COLLINS – Colorado State University’s Board of Governors has approved a $278 million upgrade and expansion for its College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences on the university’s South Campus.

The decision was announced today as the board wrapped up two days of meetings.

The expanded facilities will be coupled with a renewal of CSU’s Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine program, which is planned for full rollout in fall 2026 and, according to media releases from the school, is designed to prepare “day-one-ready” veterinarians with medical training as well as skills in problem-solving, conflict resolution, decision-making, and mental, physical and financial wellbeing. The renovated facilities will allow the college to enlarge class sizes by about 30 students.

Livestock and tertiary-care facilities also will be modernized, and clinical-trials facilities will be expanded.

Groundbreaking is expected early next year, CSU officials said, with completion in phases through 2028, transforming CSU’s South Campus as the training site for all veterinary students.

Dr. Sue VandeWoude, dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, told BizWest today that “I’m just excited we’re going to upgrade facilities that were built in the 1970s that we’ve really expanded far past what they were designed to do.”

Today’s announcement marks the latest major expansion project to be unveiled this year on a campus that has seen a slew of such projects in the past decade. In April, the state Legislature and Gov. Jared Polis approved $38 million to be spent on an expansion and transformation of the 54-year-old Clark Building, the most heavily utilized academic building on the main campus, where nearly all students take at least one class during their academic career, regardless of their major.

The expansion of the veterinary school, encompassing more than 300,000 square feet, will include a veterinary-education center and a primary-care clinic. Renovations or expansions of current spaces will include a livestock teaching hospital adjacent to the recently opened Johnson Family Equine Hospital and an animal specialty hospital. The existing James L. Voss Veterinary Teaching Hospital, originally built in 1978, will be remodeled and become the animal specialty hospital in support of clinical education and service.

“Our college ranks among the world’s top institutions in veterinary and biomedical education and research,” VandeWoude said. “Our expansion plan for the South Campus, which will include updated, innovative learning facilities coupled with modern programming for academic veterinary clinicians, will help us continue our tradition of excellence in the academic mission of teaching; the assessment of novel methods for training clinical students; and our research and service to the community. We are grateful for the board’s support and look forward to sharing more details of our programmatic and capital improvements in the coming days.”

Besides the ability to educate more students, the expanded primary-care clinic in the veterinary health complex is being designed to meet increased market demands for regional and national veterinary care and help the college better respond to veterinary needs for underserved populations through collaborations with nonprofits and with the CSU Spur campus in Denver.

The adjacent animal specialty hospital will allow for enhanced emergency and critical care, cardiovascular and surgical care, and orthopedic and rehabilitation programs, as well as expansion of the Flint Animal Cancer Center. Describing the expanded hospital as seeking to be regarded as the Mayo Clinic of veterinary care, VandeWoude said “It’s going to be a hospital facility that can treat what animals come our way.”

First- and second-year students are educated primarily on CSU’s main campus, while third- and fourth-years are educated on the South Campus. When completed, the upgrades to space and programs will allow the college to bring all DVM students to the South Campus.

The new veterinary curriculum will be among the most progressive in the world when fully implemented in the next several years, said Matthew Johnston, associate professor in avian, exotic and zoological medicine and co-chair of the college’s curriculum renewal committee.

“We are focused on things like building a growth mindset for our students, active learning, and preclinical opportunities,” Johnston said.

He said many of the changes are driven by American Veterinary Medical Association recommendations for veterinary schools to shift their curriculums to lessen the need for on-the-job training for new graduates. The school also sought input from employers, alumni, producers and professional organizations to help identify core competencies.

According to background information released today, hands-on experiences for veterinary students will increase, particularly in relation to surgical training. The dedicated surgical-skills training facility will give students more opportunities to learn and perform common procedures, including wound repairs and dental procedures as well as spays and neuters.

Another aspect of the updated curriculum will be devoting more resources to the mental health and well-being of veterinary students and newly minted veterinarians who are starting businesses, building practices or joining clinics or other organizations.

 “For eons, these types of things have been extracurricular for the most part,” Johnston said, adding that now substantial portions of the curriculum will be devoted to topics like culture, advocacy, leadership and livelihood

CSU has retained Omaha, Nebraska-based Tetrad Real Estate as the project’s master developer. The company has been a building partner on such CSU projects as the C. Wayne McIlwraith Translational Medicine Institute and the Center for Vector-Borne Infectious Disease, and also has coordinated projects on the University of Nebraska’s flagship campus in Lincoln as well as its medical center in Omaha.

“Tetrad has helped us for about five years in development of buildings and planning on both our Foothills Campus and South Campus,” VandeWoude said. “They are the point folks that help us identify the architects, the builders and the scope of the project.”

Source: BizWest

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