New digs for all creatures great and small

Veterinary teaching, research and practice at James Cook University is about to be transformed with state-of-the art new facilities soon to be constructed at the Townsville campus.

The $10 million development of the Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences School precinct will provide a new administration building, and a new pathology building, including a world-class necropsy facility.
Head of the school and Veterinary Science Dean Wayne Hein said the project would change the face of veterinary studies at the university.

“As long as people and animals have worked and lived together, veterinary medicine has been an essential part of life,” he said.

Hein said advanced diagnostic and therapeutic techniques had transformed the industry in modern times.

For example, animals may now receive advanced medical, dental, and surgical care and JCU needs to ensure its facilities are keeping pace with modern advancements, he said.

“This is a very exciting project, and will cement JCU’s reputation as one of Australia’s premier veterinary schools.”

The JCU project includes renovations to the ground floor of the existing Veterinary and Biomedical Science building, to provide additional office space.

The new facilities include a pig shed, administration building, pathology building, teaching laboratories, an eighty-seat flat-floor teaching space, a cafe, a 350-bay car park and a pedestrian bridge.

The Federal Government is part funding the new Pathology/Necropsy and Laboratory Building.

At the same time, the State Government, through its Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation (DEEDI), will also make a significant investment in the expanding precinct with the construction of a new Tropical Biosecurity Sciences Laboratory about to start.

The strategic positioning of this building on the JCU campus will increase opportunities for collaborative research between JCU and DEEDI focussing on animal health in the tropics, particularly disease diagnosis, as well as helping to train the next generation of scientists to work on tropical biosecurity challenges.

The pavilion between the new JCU and DEEDI facilities is also being refurbished and landscaped to create attractive spaces for informal outside meeting places.

New pathways will connect the car park to the new facilities and adjoining precincts via the footbridge crossing Goondaloo Creek.

Construction of the new building will start in this month. The new facilities will be completed mid 2012, while DEEDI’s building will finish construction in March 2013.