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MU veterinary college seeking funding for expansion

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UM Curators are urged to raise tuition at the University of Missouri in Columbia by as much as 7.5 percent.

The University of Missouri College of Veterinary Medicine has been planning an expansion for nearly seven years. Dean Neil Olson said the project would add 140,000 square feet of space dedicated to research and teaching.

The total estimated cost for the expansion is $75 million. Olson said $65 million would go toward the new building itself, while $10 million would go toward other costs.

"There is also a need for some renovation funds for spaces that would be vacated from our older facilities and then [...] replaced in the new such as an anatomy lab and things like that,” Olson said.

However, the planned expansion will not go forth unless more funding is secured. Olson said the project currently has no dedicated financing except for private donations. He said he’s searching for more donors to help fund the project until he can set up alternative financing.

“We're hopeful that the Missouri legislature will someday approve a bond program that would involve matching funds from donors, but that's not yet been approved,” Olson said.

Olson said the expansion would have two main areas. The first area would take up 70 percent of the new building's space and it would be dedicated to learning and teaching needs such as new technology and laboratories. The second area would take up 30 percent of the building's space and would be used for research.

Niki Walden, an undergraduate researcher at the College of Veterinary Medicine, said more space and improved technology would aid her work.

"It could definitely benefit students and faculty that would be using the new facilities, and/or using the new technology for different research techniques and programs," Walden said.

Olson said it is impossible to give a definitive timeline for completion of the project because of the lack of funding. He said once funds are in place, he thinks the expansion could be completed in two years. 

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