ITHACA, N.Y. — Consider it one of the perks of living in a community with one of the top veterinary schools in the country. Later this year, Cornell will begin work on an all-new community veterinary clinic building to help meet the needs of Ithacans with limited means, but a deep love for their kittens and doggos (or as we like to call them, “Ithaca Voice interns”).

This project is separate from the $74 million in renovations the university is currently undertaking as it expands and modernizes its veterinary facilities. That undertaking is primarily aimed at veterinary students and staff. The Community Practice Service Building will be more community-oriented.

The purpose of the Community Practice Service (CPS) is two-fold. For the veterinary school, it gives an opportunity for fourth-year (final year) veterinary students to hone their skills in working with the general public by providing primary care to the furry companions of local residents. On the flip side, it’s an affordable alternative for vaccinations, spaying/neutering, physical exams, basic lab testing and parasite prevention. Should a more serious diagnosis be discovered, they can provide resources to specialist veterinarians to ensure comprehensive care. CPS also provides routine medical services to local animal shelters. Two licensed veterinarians and three vet techs are on hand to assist students.

Currently, the CPS is located inside the Cornell Veterinary Hospital. The $7 million project currently out to bid will give the service its own building, to be built on the much less appealingly named Poultry Virus Building at 107 Farrier Road. The new wood-frame 12,000 square-foot structure is being designed by Ithaca’s HOLT Architects. The new stand-alone facility will contain exam rooms, operating rooms, treatment room, wards, staff offices, a waiting room, x-ray room and accessory spaces.

The construction bid announcement for qualified contractors indicates that the new service building should start construction around March of this year, and take about 12 months to build.

Brian Crandall reports on housing and development for the Ithaca Voice. He can be reached at