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Auburn veterinary program to expand to Gulf Coast

Auburn veterinary program to expand to Gulf Coast

The Auburn Tigers are taking a bite out of the Alabama Gulf Coast.

The city of Gulf Shores on Monday announced a new partnership with the university.

They plan to expand the university's veterinarian program in Baldwin County.

The new educational complex will serve as a satellite campus for the university and a resource to Gulf Coast residents.

Alongside County Road 8 in Baldwin County and Foley Beach Expressway sits 26 acres of vacant land.

The city plans to build a 24,000 square foot building on that property.

It will serve as an extension of Auburn University's College of Veterinary Medicine.

"For us to have a presence here in the city of Gulf Shores and Baldwin County, it's a very exciting opportunity for Auburn University and we're very pleased to be here," said Auburn University Provost, Tim Boosinger.

Gulf Shores Mayor Robert Craft said this is a chance to grow students' engagement in this field.

Craft hopes it will also benefit the community.

"It gives us an opportunity to diversify not just in the services to our public, but as an economic endeavor," Craft said. "Something that gives is a little bit of economic diversification away from just tourism on the beach."

The new facility's referral center will help residents in emergencies.

Patti Hall, director of the Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo said, "We have used Auburn University. They have helped us out so many times, but we have to take the animals all the way up to Auburn."

Hall said it's comforting to know they will be that close.

"We will have the best of the best in our backyard to be able to help us deal with the different problems of animals in captivity," Hall said.

Additional Auburn programs expected to use the facility include:

· College of Agriculture - ongoing teaching and research activities related to marine fisheries and aquaculture and ornamental horticulture

· Auburn Aviation Center - non-credit training courses such as Unmanned Aircraft Systems certificate; specialty courses such as mapping/surveying, precision agriculture and public safety; and K-12 outreach through the Striped Wings student ambassador program and camps for various grade levels

· Office of Research and Economic Development - coordinating research in additive manufacturing and training highly skilled technical personnel heavily focused for aerospace and providing collaboration opportunities with selected research institutions, community colleges, Airbus and its suppliers, GE Aviation and other manufacturers in the Gulf Coast region

· Alabama Cooperative Extension System - plant diagnostic laboratory to support the local commercial market and homeowners, master gardener's resource office and various 4-H activities and extension meetings for area residents

Construction is expected to begin in mid 2017.

They hope to have a grand opening in early 2019.

The city will put no money into this project.

A tax free bond issued by a public education building authority will pay for the land and building.

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