Lab renovations expand space to accommodate growing classes

Anatomy lab renovation

Expansion area of the anatomy laboratory will increase the current space to accommodate 150 first-year veterinary students in three different courses, improve ventilation and lighting and enhance the audiovisual capabilities.

Significant renovations of both the surgical and anatomy laboratory space within the college’s Veterinary Academic Building were completed in February to better accommodate the increased number of D.V.M. students now using these spaces.

As part of the UF College of Veterinary Medicine’s effort to address the national shortage of veterinarians, last spring, Florida legislators agreed to fund 20 additional in-state students, raising the class size to 150 students effective last fall. Members of the Class of 2026 are currently using both laboratories as part of several separate courses required in their curriculum.

Surgery lab renovation showing monitors

The renovated operating room space has 18 surgery stations, with wall oxygen, suction and medical gas scavenging. Each table has a monitor that is connected to a media system where instructional videos or live camera demonstrations can be used to guide student learning.

The $3 million estimated costs for increased faculty support, building expansions and renovation were supported by the state legislature in response to an identified state and national shortage in veterinary professionals, as the profession struggles to meet increasing demands for animal care.

Planning for the renovation began in 2021 under Dr. Tom Vickroy, as the college paved the way for increased class size. Working closely with technical staff and faculty who lead the teaching laboratories, the planning team included key improvements in animal housing, the anesthesia induction area and the surgical scrub sinks, allowing 18 spay/neuter surgeries to occur simultaneously in the newly renovated surgery area.

New sinks, part of lab space renovation

The revised scrub sink area features 11 automated sinks and additional space for gloving and gowning as the students prepare for surgery.

Renovated kennel space

Eighteen new dog kennels conform to the latest recommendations for low stress animal handling, with an enlarged living space and drains in each run for effective surface cleaning.

This crucial program enables veterinary students to get required hands-on experience in surgery, while providing free spay-neuter services for local rescue and shelter agencies in a win-win for both trainees and animals. The anatomy area was physically expanded to allow all 150 students to train simultaneously, while expansions in the teaching staff will maintain our excellent faculty to student ratio at the college.

Second year veterinary students in the Class of 2025 have already begun to use the new surgery teaching laboratory, with notable improvements to the training environment. The first expanded class, the Class of 2026, began using the new anatomy lab in January as part of their first year curriculum. Both areas were planned with an ability to expand to 160 students allowing for additional class expansions in the future.


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