TUSKEGEE, Ala. (March 20, 2013) — In a lighthearted and often humorous ceremony, ground was broken today on a new teaching hospital for the Tuskegee University School of Veterinary Medicine. Gilbert L. Rochon, Tuskegee University president, praised the work that facilitated the hospital project’s progress and hailed the construction as part of the university’s continued advancement. Paraphrasing from the Gospel of Luke, he also assured the audience that the university was fully committed to the complex’s fruition.
Tuskegee University President Gilbert L. Rochon jokes with the audience during the groundbreaking ceremony.
“Certainly, we did not want to find ourselves in the biblical phrase, ‘This man began to build, but could not finish,’ ” Rochon joked to the crowd gathered on the front lawn of Patterson Hall. “We are absolutely determined to go full steam ahead.”
The 150,000-square-foot complex for small and large animals will replace current clinical and teaching spaces spread out in nearly 60,000-square-feet of facilities. The hospital will have space for clinical, office, teaching needs as well as include areas for surgery, radiology, anesthesiology, medical records and pharmacy.
More for Tuskegee, more for Alabama
Harold “Kippy” Tate, Tuskegee capital projects and facility services vice president, said a goal for the project is attainment of Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Silver certification by utilizing environmentally-sound construction and design practices. He said the layout will be more streamlined for the clinic areas and will utilize space more efficiently than the current facilities. The design will feature energy conservation elements such as areas that maximize the use of natural light.
“We’ll provide the physical environment to mold future veterinarians,” Tate said. “More importantly, we have to leave the right physical structure in place so that it will transcend to another 64 years to possibly another 164 years.”
Tate said construction on the complex will begin this summer and is expected to be complete by the end of 2015. The architects for the project are Foil Wyatt Architects & Planners, PLLC and MLH and Associates. The contractor is Rabren General Contractors, Inc. Tate said the guaranteed maximum cost for the project is $41 million.
Tsegaye Habtemariam, dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine, Nursing and Allied Health said the complex will allow the veterinary school to accommodate more students and provide more services to the community. Currently, the school provides clinic services for the care of pets, livestock and horses and performs limited surgeries. He said the new hospital will allow the school to provide more specialized surgeries for animals and will be a benefit to surrounding areas in Alabama.
“Our community is extremely important to us,” Habtemariam said. “Here, we will be in a position to provide extensive services that are high quality as well as specialty services that are not currently available.”
Ground was broken today on a new teaching hospital for the Tuskegee University School of Veterinary Medicine.
Audience in front of Patterson Hall.