Officials in Amarillo on Tuesday agreed to chip in $15 million to help Texas Tech University open a new veterinary school in the city.
The grant will come from the city's economic development fund, which is used to lure job opportunities to town. The city and university estimates that the vet school will create about 100 well-paying jobs.
"Not only is this a wonderful opportunity for students seeking careers in veterinary medicine, particularly in a region known as the livestock capital of the United States, it's an investment in our community and economy," said Mayor Paul Harpole.
The school still needs approval from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board and funding from the Legislature. That could be a challenge. Officials from Texas A&M University, home of the state's only vet school, have expressed opposition.
The coordinating board has expressed skepticism that the state needs another traditional vet school, though it has left the door open to a new model. Tech leaders say that's what they are trying to create, and they add that their school would need less state money than a traditional school and serve a need for rural vets.
Tech wants to open the school in 2019.
"Texas has a severe shortage of rural veterinarians who are crucial to the foundations of our economy, the vibrancy of our communities and the safety of our food supply," said Tech System Chancellor Robert Duncan. "There is no better place to transform the future of veterinary education and answer this call than in Amarillo."
Disclosure: Texas Tech University has been a financial supporter of The Texas Tribune. A complete list of Tribune donors and sponsors can be viewed here.
Read related coverage:
- The staff of Texas' higher education oversight agency sees no need for a new traditional veterinary school in the state, according to a draft report on the issue.
- Texas Tech University's new president, Lawrence Schovanec, describes his vision for the school, his love for Lubbock and the future of the Big 12.