Yesterday, the Amarillo City Council approved an amendment that could bring hundreds into Amarillo and shape the city as a foundation for educational growth. The amendment, which altered the 2016 agreement between the Texas Tech University System and the Amarillo EDC, will provide an investment of up to $69 million to ensure the construction of the Texas Tech University School of Veterinary Medicine (TTU SVM) in Amarillo.
“The investment in a veterinary school in Amarillo has huge economic implications and enhances our educational opportunities for generations to come,” Amarillo Mayor Ginger Nelson said. “Amarillo sees the return that will come on this investment. Our community has the determination and drive to make this educational and economic opportunity a reality.”
The new veterinary school could potentially create 95 new direct jobs and more than 270 indirect jobs, as well as attract prospective veterinarians to the Texas Panhandle. Additionally, the TTU SVM will be the only veterinary school in the country co-located with a pharmacy and medical school on the same campus, thus expanding opportunities to combine research efforts impacting both human and animal health.
“The Veterinary School will provide our community and our region with decades of economic growth,” AEDC Board of Directors Chairman Brian Heinrich said. “AEDC has the opportunity to position Amarillo as a hub for innovation in the human and animal health science industries — industries driving a multi-billion dollar global market. The Veterinary School will provide an exceptional return on our investment not only to Amarillo but to the generations of families throughout the Panhandle and the State of Texas working in our livestock and food supply systems.”
(AEDC Chairman Brian Heinrich, right, with Mayor Ginger Nelson, left.)
The shortage of rural veterinarians has become a pressing concern for many smaller communities across the nation, particularly in Texas. The critical shortages of large animals and rural veterinarians has a significant, negative impact on global food supplies, according to the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. The TTU SVM hopes to directly address this concern in a cost-effective manner by eliminating the need for a teaching hospital, and equipping students with expert training under the leadership of local and regional veterinarians.
“Throughout the history of the Texas Tech University System, the Amarillo community has helped set the standard for support and cultivation of higher education opportunities,” Texas Tech University System Chancellor Robert Duncan said. “Now – our partnership is taken to the next level. We are grateful for Amarillo’s partnership and shared vision for transforming the landscape of veterinary education to ensure the prosperity of our vital agricultural industries. Amarillo’s commitment to bring the School of Veterinary Medicine to the Texas Panhandle will have an impact on a national and global scale. We are endlessly grateful for their spirit of support, partnership and determination.”
Currently employing more than 1,700 individuals, the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center Amarillo campus currently employs more than 1,700 people and provides over $166 million in annual economic impact. When the TTU SVU is established, the total economic impact of the campus could exceed $242 million annually for Amarillo, making it the community’s eighth largest employer.
What will this project encompass, and how will it impact Amarillo’s economy? Download the Veterinary School Project Plan below to find out.