INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (WLFI) - Purdue President Mitch Daniels lobbied at the Indiana Statehouse to get state funding for three projects. The first is to get half the funding for a new veterinary hospital, a $108 million dollar project that President Daniels said they already have $35 million fundraised. The university is asking for $73 million from the state.
"28 vet schools in the country and we have the distinction of the oldest with the oldest and most decrepit vet hospital," he said.
Purdue's veterinary sciences program dates back to the 1870's. Thousands of vets and those in animal care have come from this program. President Daniels wants to see Purdue's veterinary science program categorized as a public health entity. Similar to the IU School of Medicine and Dentistry, this distinction would separate the school so it could receive its own money from the state.
"Indiana should have come to this conclussion, or at least Purdue, some time ago," he said. "More than ever before, veterinary medicine is part of public health in this state. Diseases are spread through animals, as well as the need for animals to test new drugs on to see if they are healthy for humans."
However, he has been told for sometime now that The Purdue Veterinary Teaching Hospital, which was built in 1959, is no longer up to regulations.
"The accreditors have told us on the last couple visits if you don't fix it we can't leave you in this business," he said. "We now have regulations that you are out of compliance with, so I think we have put it off as long as we can."
President Daniels said he does not want to take away this education option from future Purdue students.
"I guess Hoosiers who want to become veterinarians could go somewhere else and bring the degree back but that would be a big mistake," he said.
The vet hospital is not the only building he is fighting for on campus. He said they have squeezed every last drop of usage out of some of Purdue's oldest buildings, like the Brown Chemistry Lab. He asked for $60 million dollars for a new 145,000 square foot STEM teaching labs facility. So far, they have $64 million fundraised.
"If we weren't inundated with record applications from tremendous students, maybe we wouldn't have these needs," he said. "But to realize our potential we do have to have new facilities."
He is also asking for $2 million for the next three years to grow 15 programs at the Purdue Fort Wayne campus. Programs employers want to see, such as advanced manufacturing, IT data sciences, and financial services/risk management. President Daniels said that two years ago, they could have asked for this funding, but he wanted to wait to learn more about what was needed in the area.
"I've been on the other side of this and I know that they have to think about the giving money to all the state institutions," he said. "But I hope they see that we waited until we knew what we needed and we did our part by fundraising for our other needs. You have to be good citizens about this."
The state budget will next go to the Senate floor where it will be voted on. It already passed the House of Representatives.