AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) - Today there were votes taken and commitments made - $90 million in commitments in total.
That's right, the Texas Tech University Veterinarian School build out will cost $90 million, and that money is now funded through fundraising efforts pulling in money from the Panhandle and from communities as far as 250 miles away.
You may be asking why do we need this?
I asked the same question.
Here are a few points that make it obvious why this is a great investment in our community:
- The Panhandle region is home to over three million head of cattle.
- The job demand is high because the closest veterinarian schools to us placed 100 percent of their graduates last year. The only other Texas veterinarian school takes more than 600 applicants every year and selects 130 students. That leaves 470 either out, or they go off to school outside our area and we then struggle to recruit them back to serve our area.
- Our region is in need of USDA animal health inspectors, large animal veterinarians to take the place of retiring veterinarians, and dairy farms are in constant need of trained veterinary professionals for their cattle.
I also asked about any duplication that may occur with West Texas A&M's new program. The WT program is a great cattle focused extension to the College Station A&M and has a great role in the community, but it will not be a duplication of service because the Texas Tech school will be a full graduate program with multiple animal disciplines.
Here is some research provided by the AEDC:
- The Amarillo EDC proposes to fund up to $69 million to ensure the Texas Tech University School of Veterinary Medicine is constructed and operational in Amarillo, Texas. Along with private donations and other community support, the Amarillo EDC funds will act as a financial guarantee for this $90 million project.
- Texas Tech is contractually obligated to continue fundraising efforts. This investment by the AEDC assures the vet school will happen while at the same time challenging industry and community partners to join in the success of making it happen.
- The timing of Amarillo's investment before the legislative appropriations request will increase the momentum of private fundraising and hopefully assist the legislative funding request.
- Funding for the project will come from the annual tax revenues (sales tax) recognized by the AEDC, and no bonds are currently planned to be issued for this project.
- The estimated annual economic impact is $76 million annually to Amarillo, hence a complete return on investment in a short time-frame, dramatically impacting economy and education in Amarillo.
My Perspective is: The money is being committed by private donors and the Amarillo Economic Development Corporation. This is what we hired the AEDC to do, and this is a low risk and high gain opportunity.
Funding this school is a great investment for our region.
In a time where we encourage our kids to seek education, why not give them that opportunity locally in a specialty that will positively impact our entire region's future.
I applaud this large effort and the vision that is being set forth.
We would love to hear your feedback. Share your Perspective.