vet with pigs RGtimeline/iStock/Thinkstock

First public veterinary school in 40 years to be built

Texas Tech University School of Veterinary Medicine will built in Amarillo, Texas.

The Amarillo (Texas) City Council has approved an amendment to a 2016 agreement between the Texas Tech University System (TTUS) and Amarillo Economic Development Corp. (AEDC) to fund up to $69 million to ensure the construction of the Texas Tech University School of Veterinary Medicine (TTU SVM) in Amarillo, Texas.

“This investment in a veterinary school in Amarillo has huge economic implications and enhances our educational opportunities for generations to come.” Amarillo Mayor Ginger Nelson said. “Amarillo sees the return that will come on this investment. Our community has the determination and drive to make this education and economic opportunity a reality.”

Along with addressing the critical shortage of rural veterinarians, TTU SVM will be the only veterinary school in the country co-located with a pharmacy school and a medical school on the same campus, thus expanding opportunities to combine research efforts affecting both human and animal health.

“The Texas Tech veterinary school will provide our community and our region with decades of economic growth,” AEDC board of directors chairman Brian Heinrich said. “The AEDC has the opportunity to position Amarillo as a hub for innovation in the human and animal health science industries -- industries driving a multibillion-dollar global market growing bigger every year. The Texas Tech veterinary school will provide an exceptional return on our investment not only to Amarillo but to the generations of families throughout the panhandle and the state of Texas working in our livestock and food supply systems.”

TTU SVM directly addresses the critical shortage of veterinarians serving rural communities in an innovative, cost-effective manner by eliminating the creation of a teaching hospital and partnering with local and regional veterinarians. In 2016, the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board adopted a report reiterating the critical shortages of large animal and rural veterinarians in Texas and the adverse impact on global food supplies.

“Throughout the history of the Texas Tech University System, the Amarillo community has helped set the standard for support and cultivation of higher education opportunities,” TTUS chancellor Robert Duncan said. “Now, our partnership is taken to the next level. We are grateful for Amarillo’s partnership and shared vision for transforming the landscape of veterinary education to ensure the prosperity of our vital agricultural industries. Amarillo’s commitment to bring the School of Veterinary Medicine to the Texas panhandle will have an impact on a national and global scale. We are endlessly grateful for their spirit of support, partnership and determination.”

Currently employing more than 1,700 people, the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center Amarillo campus provides the region with more than $166 million in annual economic impact. When the veterinary school is established, the total economic impact of the campus is estimated to exceed $242 million annually for Amarillo, making it the community’s eighth-largest employer.

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