By: GABRIELLA LEE
The design of a $63-million project for the College of Veterinary Medicine that will renovate facilities and allow the school to accommodate a larger pre-clinical class is in its final stages.
According to Paul Streeter, assistant dean of finance and administration at the vet school, the idea for the project arose out of the college’s strategic plan several years ago.
The pre-clinical years, or the first three years at the veterinary school, currently have classes of 102 students. However, Streeter said, the teaching hospital has the capacity to teach 120 students, and the new project aims to help the hospital achieve that goal.
The hospital has, until now, used this extra space for students who completed their pre-clinical years at other institutions and then trained their final clinical year at Cornell. The ultimate goal, however, is to have Cornell students who completed their pre-clinical years at the veterinary college fill the 120 spots in the hospital, Streeter said.
“The most expensive part of a veterinary education is the fourth year, the clinical year, but our hospital right now has that capacity,” said Streeter. “So what we want to do is take advantage of that capacity and really take advantage of that with all Cornell students and that will allow us to increase our class size for [the first] three years.”
Streeter added that, “from our standpoint we’ll be training the same number of veterinary students each year.”
While the idea for the project has been in the works for a while, it did not take concrete form until last year when the university hired the architecture firm Weiss/Manfredi to help design the project.
“We didn’t get funding to hire an architect until last summer, so the detail design and the real detailed planning for the project really began a year ago,” Streeter said.
Of the $63 million raised for the project, approximately $59 million is coming from New York State through the State University Construction Fund, Streeter said. The remaining $4 million will come from college resources.
Streeter explained that money was identified in the summer of 2012 that enabled the planning for the project to begin. The vet school currently aims to have capital funding available by next summer so construction can begin.
With construction scheduled to begin during the summer of 2014 and be completed in the fall of 2017, the college hopes to enroll its first expanded class size of 120 students by 2017, Streeter said.
According to a University press release, the project will demolish “68,000 square feet of existing space, replacing it with 65,000 square feet of new space, and [renovate] 33,00 square feet.” Some of the buildings and spaces that will be affected by this construction include the James Law Auditorium, which will be replaced by a new three-story structure.
In a press release, Michael Kotlikoff, dean of veterinary medicine, stated that in addition to allowing the college to admit more students, the project would also result in many other benefits.
“The program will also benefit regional veterinary technician programs, who need greater hands-on opportunities,” Kotlikoff said. “Having access to Cornell’s facilities will empower the State University of New York and other veterinary technician training programs to attract the most promising students to their programs, provide them with the most effective training and facilitate their ongoing success in practice.”