Along with their human friends, a group of enthusiastic dogs dug in to officially break ground October 18 for the new Center for Companion Animal Health (CCAH) at the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine. Several dozen other canine, avian, feline and reptilian guests attended the afternoon event with roughly 300 members and friends of the school.
The privately funded Center for Companion Animal Health, established in 1992, supports advanced studies in veterinary medicine, including investigations into the causes and cures of cancers, genetic and immune disorders, infectious diseases, nutritional disorders, kidney ailments and heart diseases.
“This new building, when joined with existing facilities, will complete the physical development of the Center for Companion Animal Health,” says Niels C. Pedersen, director. “The center will then be able to concentrate fully on its primary mission of improving the health of small companion animals through studies into the cause and prevention of naturally occurring genetic, infectious, cancerous, and nutritional diseases, as well as health problems of other types. It will be the largest center of its type in the world, and a model for similar units at other institutions.”
The newly expanded 33,000 square-foot facility will incorporate laboratories, clinical cancer treatment areas and teaching space. Scheduled for completion in 2003, the $14 million center will include the Paul C. and Borghild T. Petersen Radiation Oncology Unit, Maddie's Fund Medical Oncology Unit, the George and Phyllis Miller Feline Health Unit, the Koret Foundation Comparative Genomics Laboratory, the Ingrid and Reuben Hills III Canine Health Unit, the Companion Animal Physical Therapy Unit, and the Companion Animal Courtyard and Memorial Gardens.
Dean Bennie Osburn states, “This is a day where dreams turn to reality for the Center for Companion Animal Health. The school now looks forward to construction of other essential facilities where our faculty will work to protect and enhance the health of horses, wildlife, humans and our environment as they teach future veterinarians.”
The CCAH groundbreaking represents one of the first major efforts to rebuild the school and regain full accreditation now limited by outdated facilities. In addition to the CCAH project, construction is now underway for the students’ Veterinary Medicine Laboratory Facility and lecture auditorium, while planning continues for instructional and research buildings to replace the school’s outmoded Haring Hall.
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Lynn Narlesky , Writer