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Why are we undertaking this project?

The CVM Pre-Clinical Class Expansion Project is a facility renovation and new construction project that will enable the College to address the following key factors:

  • limited access to a Cornell veterinary education for New York State students; 
  • competitive disadvantage and a declining impact among top-tier institutions;
  • need for additional revenue to replace decline in New York State funding; and,
  • existing hospital capacity to train additional Cornell veterinary students.

This capital project will allow the College to maximize the capacity of the teaching hospitals with Cornell-trained students. Currently, we train approximately 120 students during the fourth year, but only just over 100 of those students have completed their pre-clinical studies at Cornell. With this renovation, Cornell will be able to train 120 students in each of the pre-clinical years. Once fully implemented, Cornell's DVM enrollment will stand at approximately 480 students in total, or 120 students per class year. The entering class enrollment for the past two years has been 102 students. The facility project will include renovation and expansion of classrooms, teaching laboratories, cafeteria, locker rooms and shower facilities. The project will also create a new entrance off Tower Road 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.

This project will enable the nation's top-ranked veterinary school to train more (although still significantly fewer than its peers) students. Most importantly, this project empowers Cornell to make more seats available for students from New York State, as roughly two-thirds of the expanded pre-clinical class size will be reserved for residents of New York.

What will we gain?

Through this project, the College will retain its commitment to the current educational pedagogy, infusing the learning with case-based activities and hands-on work beginning in the first year. In addition, this project will address the following needs:

To effectively use space, the project will create "zones" throughout the College's footprint, clustering similar activities (teaching, discovery, and service) and creating appropriate access for the public and members of the Cornell community.

To ensure that we can efficiently and effectively support larger pre-clinical class sizes, the project will include construction of two new lecture halls and a large classroom.

To provide comfortable and learning-appropriate spaces, the project will address Schurman hall needs in targeted areas, including the HVAC system, infrastructure challenges, and life safety needs.

To develop a sense of space and foster a 21st century culture, the project will create a series of major public spaces, lounges, and study rooms that will enhance the sense of community and promote interaction and collaboration.

In addition, the project will upgrade restrooms, locker rooms, and the cafeteria.

What will the project cost and where is the funding coming from?

The total project budget is $74.1 million for both phases. Most of the funding for this project will come from the State University Construction Fund (SUCF), with resources that can only be used for capital projects. Cornell has already received $22 million from the SUCF to begin work. In addition, the College has received additional support from the State to offset increased operating costs associated with larger pre-clinical class sizes. Private support will be needed to finish the project. For information on how you can help support this project, please contact Kevin Mahaney, Assistant Dean of Alumni Affairs, Development, and Communications (607-253-3747/

How much new construction will there be?

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.

What areas will be impacted by construction?

During construction, we expect that library services will be relocated. We will find alternative sites for activities normally held in Lecture Halls I and II and the Dry Lab as we expect that the use of these areas will be largely disrupted and/or closed for some period. Tutorial rooms will be relocated and general circulation from one end of the College complex to the other will need to be re-routed as most of the construction activity will generally occur in the space along and adjacent to a corridor extending from the front entrance courtyard of Schurman Hall and the Veterinary Education Center (the Pedestrian Plaza adjacent to Tower Road) and continuing east through Schurman Hall and into the courtyards in which the former diagnostic laboratory building resides. This corridor effectively divides the College complex in half. The floorplans illustrate current expectations for the new layout of the College complex. The schedule for demolition and construction has not been determined as of yet.

Ask a question or voice an opinion

If you have a question or would like to express your thoughts and suggestions regarding the Veterinary Class Expansion initiative, please send an email to

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