Texas A&M regents approve $39.6M for new projects in West Texas
The Texas A&M University Veterinary Education, Research & Outreach Center and partially relocated Texas A&M Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory will be built for a combined $39.6 million on the West Texas A&M University campus in Canyon, Texas, after the Texas A&M board of regents approved funding during its Nov. 15, 2018, meeting.
The projects are a part of a larger TAMU system initiative, announced January 2016, creating statewide partnerships to expand veterinary education, research, undergraduate education, and outreach into several regions of the state through four A&M System member universities, said Matthew D. Henley, project manager.
"WTAMU is the first of the partnerships. An affiliation between (the College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences) and WTAMU will clearly create synergies in advancing their overlapping educational, research, and outreach missions in serving the youth and the livestock industries in the Texas Panhandle and Plains," he said.
The other A&M System partnerships are with Prairie View A&M University, Texas A&M University-Kingsville, and Tarleton State University.
Construction began on both projects in December 2018, and the expected completion data is June 2020.
VERO will cover more than 22,000 square feet and stand adjacent to WTAMU's new Agricultural Sciences Complex and diagnostic laboratory, according to a university press release. The center will provide students from the Texas A&M veterinary college a place to take courses, participate in externships, and conduct research.
"The idea for the VERO Center comes from addressing a prevailing challenge in the veterinary profession—provision of veterinary care in rural communities," said Henley. "Many strategies are in place or have been tried to solve this challenge. One such strategy is based upon the fact that young people from rural communities, especially the Texas Panhandle and Plains region, are more likely to return to those communities. A regional veterinary teaching center located at WTAMU would serve this critical area. The (Texas Panhandle and Plains) region is within a two-hour drive from the WTAMU campus."
The other facility is the TVMDL, which will move one of its locations in Amarillo to the WTAMU campus.
"The Amarillo facility was built in 1975, and after more than 40 years of demanding work, the conditions in the deteriorating facility challenge the ability to fulfill the accreditation requirements set by the American Association of Veterinary Laboratory Diagnosticians," said Henley.
The TVMDL-Canyon facility is projected to be 11,233 square feet and include bacteriology, pathology, serology, and virology laboratories, according to the press release.
Related JAVMA content:
Texas veterinary education expanding, one way or another (July 15, 2018)
Veterinary education expanding in Texas (April 01, 2016)