The next thing that grows in this old peanut field could be a new crop of veterinarians and their training ground could be a real zoo.
“Absolutely the most exciting news that I’ve heard in a long time,” says zoo director Patti Hall.
Before Auburn University decided to build a 12 million dollar education complex, including a satellite teaching hospital for its vet school, the zoo was on their radar.
“When we get here there are going to be so many good opportunities for us to pursue,” says dean of veterinary medicine Calvin Johnson. “Some we have not even thought about, others that are pretty obvious.”
“We will be working on partnering up on the programs that Auburn is going to be offering,” says Hall. “At this point, I can’t give a lot of details but there will be a partnership and a relationship with the vet school.”
Financing for the next construction phase at the new zoo location is still being worked out but Auburn’s announcement is expected to boost that process as well. “Maybe I can talk them into really explore the exotic animals a lot more,” says Hall. “With the zoo being in their backyard, it will give them the opportunity.”
There is still a lot of work to be done according to Hall. “I’m looking forward to a wonderful relationship with them and we don’t know where it’s all going to go but I think it is all for the good.”
Twenty-six acres just north of County Road 8 may not look like much now, but it is full of possibilities especially for the Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo.
Auburn expects construction to begin next Spring with students arriving for classes by 2019.