Glendale, Ariz. -- Midwestern University, with locations in Arizona and Indiana, is moving forward with plans to construct Arizona's first veterinary school.
— Midwestern University, with locations in Arizona and Illinois, is moving forward with plans to construct Arizona’s first and only veterinary school on its 144-acre Glendale campus.
The school announced it was considering building a veterinary school in mid-2011, and confirmed plans March 7 to begin construction on the new $90 million veterinary school by January 2013. The veterinary campus will include three buildings—a 50,000-square-foot academic facility, a 25,000-square-foot large-animal facility and a 50,000-square-foot small-animal clinic.
Midwestern officials say they plan to admit an inaugural class of 100 veterinary students in fall 2014 and create 60 new jobs for Glendale.
“In our continuing mission to meet the healthcare needs of the community, we are proud to bring this new professional degree program to Arizona,” says Kathleen H. Goeppinger, PhD, president and chief executive officer of Midwestern University. “The rural and agricultural areas of our state have shown a significant demand for more well-qualified veterinarians and have voiced strong support for this new college.”
Within the veterinary profession, opinions are split on whether there are too many or too few veterinarians in the country. Still, the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges (AAVMC) has predicted a shortage of 15,000 veterinarians over the next 20 years. The U.S. Government Accounting Office (GAO) has also said that the veterinary workforce is not large enough, but the release of a long-awaited study on the veterinary workforce from the National Institutes of Health that is six years in the making has been delayed already and no firm completion date is in sight.
Midwestern University says its College of Veterinary Medicine will focus on recruiting throughout the state and region, with particular emphasis on students from rural communities who can best meet these areas of critical shortages.
When it opens, Midwestern will be the newest veterinary college following Western University in California, which admitted its first class of veterinary students in 2003. There are currently 28 veterinary schools in the United States, and all have received full accreditation from the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), with Western making the move from limited to full accreditation in 2010.