Colorado State University plans $278 million veterinary health complex

“The veterinary health complex facilities will empower our people to be leaders in advancing animal healthcare through integrated education, clinical practice and research,” said Dr. Kelly Hall, associate professor in Critical Care Services and a member of the project planning team. “This integrated approach elevates and leverages the expertise and experiences of our staff and faculty to continually advance all aspects of veterinary medicine.”

In response to the ongoing demand for veterinarians across both large- and small-animal specialties, the Fort Collins DVM class size is also anticipated to grow by around 30 students, to a total of about 170. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects the employment of clinical veterinarians to grow nearly 20% over the next decade, and there is a concurrent shortage of veterinarians entering academic, governmental and industrial positions.

Currently, first- and second-year students are educated primarily on the Main Campus, while third- and fourth-years are educated on the South Campus. When completed, the programmatic and space upgrades will allow the college to bring all DVM students to the South Campus, enhancing opportunities for collaboration, learning and support among peers.

Progressive veterinary curriculum

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. 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, according to Johnston. Another foundational step was outreach to employers, alumni, producers and professional organizations to help identify core competencies.

Hands-on experiences for veterinary students will increase, particularly in relation to surgical training. A dedicated surgical skills training facility is included in the veterinary education center plans, giving students more opportunities to learn and perform common procedures, including wound repairs, dental procedures and spays/neuters.

The curriculum will also answer longstanding needs to focus more resources on 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. Now, substantial portions of the curriculum will be devoted to topics like culture, advocacy, leadership and livelihood

CSU has retained Tetrad Real Estate as the project’s master developer, a company with deep roots at CSU and on the South Campus as a building partner for signature projects, including the C. Wayne McIlwraith Translational Medicine Institute and the Center for Vector-Borne Infectious Disease .

“Tetrad Real Estate is proud to be a partner in this important project,” said Jordan Berger, company president and CEO. “We thank the faculty and staff at CSU for their dedicated engagement in the program planning effort.”

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