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EXPANDING PROGRAM: Zoo To Bolster ISU Partnership

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Blank Park Zoo is appealing to the legislature for money to expand their program with Iowa State Veterinary students.

The zoo is asking for $1 million to help renovate its hospital service building.

It was first built back in 1982 and only provides enough space for the vet and one student. An expansion would allow more students to take part in medical procedures.

The zoo also wants to add bunks to allow four or five students to stay overnight at the zoo to care for animals.

Officials say it will help the students learn more during their 30-day rotation.

“What’s cool about this relationship is there are 220 zoos in North America and only 40 or 50 vet schools. Only 2 or 3 places in the country where the locations match up close enough that vet students can get the option to do something really interesting and exotic like this,” Zoo CEO Mark Vukovich explained.

Lawmakers will make a decision about the funding later in this session. The zoo hopes to begin work on the project in the fall.