UGA seeks funding for new vet teaching hospital

ATHENS, Ga. — Education officials are asking Gov. Nathan Deal to approve funding for a new veterinary medicine teaching hospital at the University of Georgia.


The Board of Regents voted last week to ask for the $53 million project as part of a larger, $206 million list of construction projects it wants the Republican governor to include in the state’s bond budget when lawmakers reconvene next year.

Deal refused to approve bonds for the project last year.

Administrators and workers in the teaching hospital say the expansion is long overdue.

They say there isn’t enough room for recovering horses and other large animals to graze.

Available space was lost when UGA built the nearby Animal Health Research Center.

“When I first came here, we were wondering what we were going to do with all this space,” said Tony Hughey, manager of the hospital’s central services department. “But now, we’re carving closets out of bathrooms and offices out of closets.”

The hospital’s current layout is not ideal.

A storage area for medicine and supplies sits hundreds of yards from the hospital parking lot, requiring a full-time employee to shuttle material back-and-forth, said Chester Sosebee, the hospital’s director of pharmaceutical services.

UGA College of Veterinary Medicine Dean Sheila Allen said that if Deal includes the request in his budget and lawmakers approve it, groundbreaking could happen in a year.

The project would be finished by 2014.

“We’re very grateful that we’ve been included in the Regents’ recommendation, and we’re
cautiously optimistic that the project will stay in the budget,” she said.