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New bill would provide $50 million to CSU veterinary education program

Visiting+veterinary+student+Juliana+Renzi+and+Dr.+Danni+Scott+perform+an+exam+on+a+French+bulldog+at+the+Colorado+State+University+Veterinary+Teaching+Hospital+Feb.+26.
Collegian | Aria Paul
Visiting veterinary student Juliana Renzi and Dr. Danni Scott perform an exam on a French bulldog at the Colorado State University Veterinary Teaching Hospital Feb. 26. Construction recently began on a new section of the veterinary hospital and is expected to be completed spring 2026.

In 2023, the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at Colorado State University announced an expansion of the veterinary education facility to meet the growing demand of veterinarians in the United States and assist in fixing the current shortage of veterinarians.

The new HB24-1231 bill introduced in the Colorado General Assembly would give $50 million to CSU to contribute to the new Veterinary Health and Education Complex.

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CSU’s veterinary school is ranked second in the nation, but veterinary students want to incorporate more modern equipment and update the way they are being taught to keep up with the evolving field.

“It’s really a transformational project that will upgrade older facilities and also add a primary care clinic for both training and service to the community. We’re updating our curriculum, which really hasn’t been updated in several decades, to match what other professional programs have found to be the best way to educate.” –Sue VandeWoude, College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences dean

“I love our program, but there’s always ways to improve,” veterinary student Rebecca Williamson said. “A lot of schools are starting to use virtual technology, virtual reality kind of simulation systems, so I think it’d be cool if they could incorporate some new technologies that are coming out.”

Williamson explained that having access to updated technology will introduce hands-on learning to the program earlier because most students don’t get experience with live animals at the start of the program.

The project will do just that by revamping the curriculum to allow for more hands-on learning, collaborative learning and more modern technology in their education.

“It’s really a transformational project that will upgrade older facilities and also add a primary care clinic for both training and service to the community,” said Sue VandeWoude, dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. “We’re updating our curriculum, which really hasn’t been updated in several decades, to match what other professional programs have found to be the best way to educate.”

In addition to updating the curriculum, the expansion of the complex would allow the college to increase its class size by up to 20% to fill the gap in the field of veterinary medicine.

“We don’t have any concerns that we won’t be able to (increase class size) because we get more applications than any other vet school in the world, probably,” VandeWoude said. “We get 3,000-4,000 applications per year for about 140 slots. This allows us to bring it up close to 170 per class.”

The gap in veterinary medicine that CSU aims to fill is primarily in rural areas because of the lack of facilities and specialists in those places.

“We’ve been spending a lot of time on rural considerations,” VandeWoude said. “We haven’t implemented anything yet because we’re doing research on what can we do to specifically address the shortage of people that are going into rural areas where there’s a really terrible need for a really difficult shortage in those areas.”

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Although current CSU veterinary school students will not be able to experience the benefits of the project and expansion, they are still excited about the possibility of the funding provided by the proposed legislation because of how it will impact the future of veterinary medicine.

“I think, in general, it is a benefit for the majority of the population to provide more veterinarians, more access to care,” veterinary student Katie Kroeker said. “Obviously, as a student, I personally probably won’t be able to experience the new facility, but I think it’s a great idea for the university and for future students to have more resources, more labs, more classroom space (and) the ability to see more patients.”

CSU is aiming to both finish the new veterinary teaching complex and have the new curriculum rolled out in 2026.

“There have been just thousands of hours that people have put into it, and then the recent legislation — we’re just really grateful for our administration in promoting that to the state and then to the state for supporting it in a bipartisan way,” VandeWoude said.

Reach Laila Shekarchian at news@collegian.com or on Twitter @csucollegian.

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