Partnering with experts at the Weiss/Manfredi architectural firm of New York City, the College is making steady progress toward a transformational capital project that will create appropriately sized classrooms for expanding pre-clinical education, renovate existing anatomy, tutorial, and student surgery areas, establish facilities appropriate for meetings and events, develop an e-learning center, and create outstanding spaces for collaboration and study. The project will also replace or adaptively reuse the vacated former diagnostic lab and necropsy suites, include needed infrastructure upgrades to Schurman Hall, establish a central student locker area, and strengthen our sense of community through improved public spaces and a new cafeteria.
Ultimately, the project will create a dynamic, asymmetrical series of spaces that will unite the entrances for Schurman Hall, the Veterinary Education Center, and the Veterinary Research Tower and establish appropriate public atrium space for large gatherings and presentations.
Current plans call for replacing James Law Auditorium with a three-story building that will house the Flower-Sprecher Veterinary Library, modular resource center, and administrative offices. In addition, plans call for two additional, large, tiered lecture halls; a relocated dining area that will more effectively support food service needs and foster a greater sense of community; a multi-purpose Atrium that will effectively support large gatherings including the annual NYS Veterinary Conference; a larger footprint for the gross anatomy lab; a plethora of study spaces that will support both private, quiet study and group learning; and rain gardens and a green roof to creatively handle water run-off.
Plans call for demolishing 68,000 square feet of existing space, replacing it with 65,000 square feet of new space, and renovating 33,000 square feet. The project is estimated to cost $63 million, much of which will be covered with state funds that have been allocated for capital projects with a portion coming from private support. Should the project proceed according to the current schedule, construction will begin in the late fall or early winter of 2014 and conclude in 2017.
A History of Renewal
Cornell’s College of Veterinary Medicine was originally housed in the middle of campus, in what is now Ives Hall. At the time, the building was one of the most innovative and spacious veterinary facilities in the country, serving a total of approximately 300 students and faculty and supporting the entire teaching, research, and service needs of a program mainly dedicated to large animal medicine. Since then, the College has grown and diversified to meet society’s changing needs.
Dean George C. Poppensiek spearheaded the construction of the Veterinary Research Tower, which opened in 1974, and Dean Edward Melby fought courageously for a new teaching hospital that was critical to preserving the College’s standing and to meeting the challenges and opportunities of expanding clinical programs. And after many years of planning, the New York State Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory opened in 2010, uniting multiple diagnostic services that had been in separate facilities.
Currently much of the College’s major teaching facilities, such as anatomy, student surgery, and tutorial rooms, still reside in the original 1957 structure, which desperately needs renovation and whose mechanical systems are beyond their lifespan. Locker rooms and bathrooms that were appropriate for the gender distribution of classes in 1957 are currently augmented by temporary facilities. And the move of necropsy, histopathology, and parasitology, from Schurman Hall and the “Old DL” to the new AHDC building left more than 30,000 sq. ft. of unoccupied space in the core of our complex, space that remains unused and unusable.