UGA moving at breakneck pace to open new Veterinary Medical Learning Center

The University of Georgia has targeted March 18, 2015, as the date on which it will begin operations at its new Veterinary Medical Learning Center after moving out of its old teaching hospital that opened in 1979.

According to Sheila Allen, dean of the UGA College of Veterinary Medicine, moving from the old hospital to the new one is a monumental task scheduled to be completed in a brisk six days and requiring a year's worth of logistical planning in advance.

Once things are in full swing at the new location, UGA will remodel the old teaching hospital to create more classrooms and office space, the Athens Banner-Herald reported.

Some facts about the new Veterinary Medical Learning Center:

  • The Veterinary Medical Learning Center spans five buildings: the teaching hospital, the academic building, and three buildings mainly used for large animals.
  • The new teaching hospital will enable the school to increase the number of patients treated from 24,000 per year to up to 32,000.
  • The teaching hospital will feature separate entrances for small and large animals, as well as separate examination rooms for dogs and cats.
  • The hospital will have a section for exotic pets and injured wild animals.
  • The Veterinary Medical Learning Center is being built with environmental friendliness in mind, including natural lighting, a rainwater collection system, and two drilled wells that will allow the complex to use its own water during city water restrictions.

While the upcoming opening of the new Veterinary Medical Learning Center may not alleviate growing concerns over veterinary oversupply (the student population will grow from 102 to 114 in 2014, and can eventually reach 150 students), the university has indicated that it does not believe there is an oversupply problem in Georgia. According to the school, the state's population has increased 77 percent since the current veterinary teaching hospital was built, while the class size has increased only 18 percent.

The Veterinary Medical Learning Center website also says the school strongly encourages applications from prospective students who have demonstrated interest in fields underserved in veterinary medicine such as rural practice, food safety and security, public health, and biomedical and agricultural research.