The Ohio State Veterinary Medical Center is planning to start a $30 million facelift later this year, but has only raised one-third of the estimated cost.
The Veterinary Medical Center wants to renovate and add on to its current small animal hospital and hopes to break ground by the end of the year, said Melissa Weber, spokeswoman for the College of Veterinary Medicine.
The Veterinary Medical Center is “one of the largest veterinary hospitals in the country and is the only comprehensive referral veterinary hospital in Ohio, Kentucky and West Virginia,” according to its website.
“We’ve had an 80 percent increase in small animal cases in the past six years,” Weber said.
More than 18,500 pets receive care at the Hospital for Companion Animals each year, according to its website.
Weber said along with the increased business, the building was constructed more than 40 years ago and needs a renovation.
“While it doesn’t sound extremely old, so much has changed between the technology — just the capabilities of all the medical technology. I mean, back then there weren’t even computers,” Weber said.
The center has been planning the project for six years but didn’t start sooner “because there’s no state support for the renovation,” Weber said, so the project will be funded by donations. The center has raised $8.5 million so far, and it started fundraising about two years ago, Weber said.
The project includes an addition that will be used for faculty offices, which will likely be constructed first, and the current faculty office area will be gutted and turned into a new lobby, additional exam rooms and surgery suites, Weber said.
The new addition, as well as an enlarged intensive care unit, is slated to cost $18 million. The new lobby and exam rooms are expected to cost $4 million, specialty treatment rooms $4 million and surgical suites another $4 million, Weber said.
Mellissa Hicks, a fourth-year graduate student studying comparative and veterinary medicine and president of the OSU College of Veterinary Medicine Graduate Student Association, said she was pleased to hear of the project.
“This is a wonderful expansion to the college, which will provide a wonderful new space in the hospital,” she said.
Hicks said the expansion is important because it will help attract new students, as well as clients.
“The new client waiting room will also help to increase the number of clients (the center) can see and make them feel more comfortable,” she said.
Dillon Clouse, a first-year graduate student in veterinary medicine, also said he thought the expansion would help attract students.
“When I was doing my interviews and tours of other vet schools during my application process, the other hospitals attached to the schools were much more modern in appearance than OSU’s, so a renovation would be great to keep pace with the other schools in the country,” he said.
Weber also noted the importance of the project for the facility and the students.
“It’s definitely important for student learning and teaching because it’s such cramped space right now. We need the opportunity to improve it for both our faculty, staff and student learning,” she said.