WEST TEXAS A&M UNIVERSITY, TEXAS (KFDA) - For years there has been a push to expand veterinary education in the Panhandle, both at West Texas A&M and Texas Tech.
Today, the Texas A&M University System Regents have announced plans for a $22.8 million veterinary building for West Texas A&M's Agricultural Sciences Complex.
The building will be for veterinary education, research and workforce opportunities in the Panhandle as part of almost $90 million in new commitments to the state industry on the WTAMU campus, according to a news release. They also voted to spend $2.2 million of the total now for the planning of the building.
The Board of Regents held a special telephonic meeting this morning, adding the new Veterinary Education, Research and Outreach Center to the capital plan.
"This is a good day for West Texas A&M. This is a good day for Texas A&M," said Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp. "But it is a great day for the Panhandle and High Plains because what is being created here is an agriculture complex that will soon take West Texas A&M to the number one [agriculture] school in the state of Texas outside of College Station."
The Veterinary Education, Research and Outreach Center, VERO, will be adjacent to WTAMU's new Agricultural Sciences Complex and a new Texas A&M Medical Diagnostic Laboratory facility on the north side of the campus on Russell Long Boulevard. VERO will house laboratories, research centers and classrooms where students can work side-by-side with veterinarians.
"They get a chance to work with distinguished veterinarians from Texas A&M University and local veterinarians because we'll be drawing those local veterinarians in for externships and different kinds of opportunities to extend themselves," said WTAMU President Walter Wendler.
The initiative started in 2009. In 2016, Texas A&M invested $120 million to construct a new teaching complex, and now WTAMU will build the center.
VERO is scheduled to be completed in 2020.