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A Dream Takes Shape

Tuesday, December 15, 2020

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Brick and Mortar Begins to Outline Future of the Purdue University Veterinary Hospital

As warm summer days gave way to fall foliage and cooler temperatures during the second half of 2020, the walls went up on the Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine’s new hospital facilities, generating palpable enthusiasm among faculty, staff and students.  As of mid-November, the new structures that will house expanded Small Animal Hospital facilities, a new Equine Hospital, and a new Farm Animal Hospital became clearly defined.

“It is so exciting to see the progress,” said Dr. Ellen Lowery, director of the Purdue University Veterinary Hospital.  “Every day brings us closer to even better patient care, client service, and student education.”  Construction continues on schedule with the opening of the new facilities set for spring of 2022.

The new hospital facilities will consist of 165,000 gross square feet of space on a 13 acre site.  “I am excited about the enhancements and opportunities the new complex will provide,” said Dr. Lowery.  “We will have a better teaching facility dedicated to educating the next generation of veterinary professionals, and enhanced equipment and operations supporting excellence in patient care and service to our clients and referring veterinarians.” 

According to Project Manager Cy Rangel, the construction of the Small Animal Hospital facility is not much different than that of a hospital designed for human care. One key difference, however, is that in the new structure sound barriers will be added to help isolate sound between canine and feline patients. Both of these species also will have separate waiting rooms to aid in providing a better overall client and patient experience.  Another notable feature will be the new physical rehabilitation ward, which will feature a new in-ground pool offering weightless flotation therapy.  In addition, the structure will house the hospital’s emergency service.

The Equine Hospital and the Farm Animal Hospital have different construction requirements.  The walls built with concrete or masonry are much thicker than those of the Small Animal Hospital facility, due to the size and weight of the large animal patients. Both the Equine Hospital and Farm Animal Hospital also will feature a new steel monorail system designed to hoist and transport anesthetized animals in and out of surgery.

The ongoing construction has posed challenges as the Veterinary Hospital remains open.  “The veterinary hospital has been very busy throughout the construction project, even with the ongoing pandemic,” explained Dr. Lowery.  “Across every position in the hospital, the team has been stellar and I have so much respect for their dedication and service,” Dr. Lowery said.  “Despite the disruption caused by the construction combined with the pandemic, on a daily basis the team demonstrates patience, flexibility, innovation and compassion, always striving to provide excellence in service and care. Most of our clients have been understanding and appreciative, despite the challenges with parking, construction noise, and communication.”

Dr. Lowery marvels at the way everyone has responded, given that, under normal circumstances, just adapting to the construction alone would be considered enough of a challenge.  “Add to that a pandemic and the associated precautionary/protective measures put into place, such as car-side service for hospital clients, mask-wearing, and social distancing as much as possible, the resilience and adaptive capacity of our hospital team has been amazing.”  Dr. Lowery added that all of this has happened at a time when the hospital has seen a record number of cases.  “And every day the team shows up and despite their own concerns and fatigue, goes all in to serve the needs of our community and beyond,” Dr. Lowery said.

Meanwhile, the success of the Leave A Print fundraising campaign to raise financial support for the new hospital facilities continues to grow, reaching $3.6 million, or 45 percent of the $8.3 million dollar goal by Thanksgiving.  “Honestly, I am excited to see the benefit of these new buildings to the members of our Purdue University Veterinary Hospital team as their environment is vastly improved, complementing their expertise with facilities and operations that support them being their very best,” Dr. Lowery said.  “I am grateful for the support of the University and the State of Indiana, and especially grateful to all of our donors, who recognize the impact their generosity will have on the future of our profession, animal welfare and global health. It is indeed a bright future and I am grateful to be a small part of the Purdue commitment to advancing animal and human health.”


Writer(s): Jonathan Martz, PVM Communications Intern, and Kevin Doerr | pvmnews@purdue.edu

Category: Hospitals, Services


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