With a turn of the shovel, Phase 1 construction began on the new Texas A&M Equine Complex. At a total cost of $80 million when completed, the new complex provides a home for equine science education, research, and outreach.
Dr. Eleanor Green, Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences’ Carl B. King Dean of Veterinary Medicine, said the initiative will bring together students, faculty, and equine industry leaders and provide a foundation for research discoveries and outreach initiatives dedicated to the welfare of the horse.
Planning for the new center began in May 2012 when the Texas A&M Board of Regents approved negotiation of a ground lease with an anonymous donor that allowed for Phase 1 construction to begin. This cornerstone gift, combined with in-kind and other major gifts, bring support generated for Phase 1 construction to approximately $35 million.
“The Texas A&M Equine Initiative is another example of the culture of excellence found across the entire Texas A&M University System,” Texas A&M System Chancellor John Sharp said. “State-of-the-art facilities such as these are central to our mission of improving the lives of people and animals in Texas and beyond.”
Initial construction will include an education and outreach center, facilities for the Texas A&M Equestrian Team, a cross country course in collaboration with Texas A&M Athletics, and new facilities for the Parsons Mounted Cavalry.
Eric Hyman, Texas A&M Athletic Director, said “the Texas A&M equestrian team is the gold standard when it comes to collegiate competition and the Equine Complex will further enhance the program.”
“This new facility will impact students in many ways, not only through enhancing their curriculum, but also by providing a home to student programs such as the national champion Equestrian Team,” Green added.
With a long history of teaching, research, equine medicine, and outreach excellence, Texas A&M University has been a vital contributor to the equine industry for generations.
“This Center will be a major center of equine research, care, and outreach,” Texas A&M President R. Bowen Loftin said. “It is an excellent example of one of the things we do best at Texas A&M: work together across academic disciplines. Non-academic units are involved as well to make the center truly one-of-a-kind.”
Both the Department of Animal Science in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and the College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences have been instrumental in providing the equine industry with knowledge and care that have advanced not only equine sciences, but the welfare of the horse as well.
“Texas is a national leader in the equine industry, and at Texas A&M, we have internationally recognized leaders in equine veterinary medicine and equine sciences,” Green said. “It is our obligation to serve the needs of Texas. This facility provides another opportunity to do so, through advancing the health and well-being of horses and the strength and viability of the equine industry so important to Texas.”
The Texas A&M Equine Initiative was created to collaboratively utilize existing expertise within the university to build an equine program that will graduate the industry’s future leaders and generate research and veterinary medical care that will improve the industry and the care and welfare of the horse. To support its mission, the Equine Initiative has developed four major imperatives. In each of these areas, the focus will be to enhance and improve upon Texas A&M’s existing strengths. The four imperatives are curriculum enhancement, outreach & engagement expansion, facility construction, and partnership development.
Green said a facility such as this would not be possible without teamwork.
“My gratitude goes out to all those involved in making this unique construction model of the Thomas Hilderbrand Equine Complex a success, including Chancellor John Sharp; President R. Bowen Loftin; Regent Richard Box, Chair of the Board of Regents; Regent Jim Schwertner, Chair of the Facilities Committee for the Board of Regents; Eric Hyman, Texas A&M Athletic Director; Dr. Mark Hussey, Vice Chancellor and Dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences; and Dr. Jim Heird, Executive Professor and Coordinator for the Texas A&M Equine Initiative,” Green said.
For more information regarding the Texas A&M Equine Initiative, please visit www.TAMUequine.com or call the Equine Initiative office at 979-845-6098.