$63M capital project to upgrade veterinary college

entry plaza rendering
The new front door to the Vet College complex will serve as the eastern most anchor for the university's footprint and connect the college to Cornell's campus.
rendering of lecture hall
New lecture halls will enable lecture-style learning for class sizes of 120 students.
rendering of library reading room
The new library will be have a prominent placement in the college's complex.

The College of Veterinary Medicine will begin a $63 million capital project to upgrade and expand its infrastructure and teaching facilities to accommodate increasing the pre-clinical (first three years of study) class sizes from 102 to 120 students. Plans call for demolishing 68,000 square feet of existing space, replacing it with 65,000 square feet of new space, and renovating 33,000 square feet.

Construction is scheduled to start next summer with completion in fall 2017.

Cornell currently has the smallest class size among top-tier veterinary schools, due in part to outdated facilities that lack lecture halls and other spaces capable of supporting more than 102 students. The fourth-year class size is now 120 students; an additional 18 students, many from Caribbean schools, complete their clinical training during their final year at Cornell in the college’s veterinary teaching hospital, which already has capacity for the additional students.

Additionally, the project will support the growing needs of an annual veterinary conference held at the college that attracts approximately 700 people. Along with practicing veterinarians and students, the conference is attended by veterinary technicians who will have access to Cornell’s new facilities to augment their programs with experiential learning.

“The facility enhancements made as part of this project will enable the college to match the admission size of our veterinary student intake with the capacity of our hospital, thereby achieving the maximum benefit from our extraordinary teaching hospital,” said Michael Kotlikoff, the Austin O. Hooey Dean of Veterinary Medicine. “The program will also benefit regional veterinary technician programs, who need greater hands-on opportunities. Having access to Cornell’s facilities will empower SUNY [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.”

While uniting major teaching, clinical and research spaces of the college, the project enhances the sense of community and collaboration opportunities among students, faculty and staff.  The design includes creating a public auditorium; larger classrooms to expand pre-clinical education, including two additional tiered lecture halls; a dining facility closer to the hospital; renovating existing anatomy, tutorial and student surgery areas; and developing meeting and event spaces, an e-learning center and study spaces as well as a central student locker area.

Construction plans also include replacing James Law Auditorium with a new three-story structure: The first floor will house the Flower-Sprecher Veterinary Library, which is central to the teaching and research mission of the college. The second-floor will contain the modular resource center and E-learning Center, where students and others can access innovative learning tools. The third floor will be used for administrative offices.

The college has partnered with the Weiss/Manfredi architectural firm of New York City to design the new spaces and renovations. The project is predominantly funded by New York state with the remainder coming from gifts and other college resources. 

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Joe Schwartz