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NC State opens vet teaching hospital

Posted May 5, 2011 5:37 p.m. EDT
Updated May 6, 2011 6:33 p.m. EDT

— North Carolina State University's College of Veterinary Medicine is celebrating the opening of its new veterinary teaching hospital, the Randall B. Terry Jr. Companion Animal Veterinary Medical Center.

The $72 million complex took 12 years to come to fruition. It was made possible by a $20 million donation by the R.B. Terry Charitable Foundation, appropriations from the 2006 North Carolina General Assembly, and private donations matched by the foundation. 

Associate Dean Mike Davidson said the facility has a state-of-the-art radiation treatment room, which cost $1 million to build. Its walls and floors are reinforced with several feet of concrete.

The facility also boasts the only animal bone marrow transplant program in America.

“This building is really going to be the gold standard for academic veterinary medical centers for many years to come,” Davidson said.

School officials say the Terry Center will be one of the most technologically-advanced schools in the country.

“We pretty much do everything we do in a human hospitals, we just do it on animals,” veterinary technician Tiffany Hemmelgarn said.

Hemmelgarn is excited to work in the new facility, which is twice as big as the old clinic where she earned her degree as an undergraduate at NC State.

The center has classrooms and allows students to learn alongside working veterinarians. 

Hemmelgarn said the center is focused on providing the best patient care. 

“Its also about teaching the students, residents and interns and making sure this is all still a learning process,” Hemmelgarn said.

Davidson said the research being done there could one day save human lives, as well.

“A lot of the findings that we discover through our clinical research efforts have a direct effect on human health,” he said.

N.C. State is officially dedicating the school on Friday at 2 p.m. The public is invited to tour the facility from 1-4 p.m. on Sunday.

The school has placed a brick in memory of WRAL’s newshound Tracker, who passed away in February.

Veterinarians at N.C. State first diagnosed Tracker with uncontrollable seizures. Tracker's family said the veterinarians were crucial in helping Tracker through his condition.

The Wake County SPCA brought Tracker to WRAL News as part of the “Pet of the Day” segment during a noon newscast. He soon found a home at the station.