Nashville Zoo dignitaries along with representatives from HCA Healthcare, The Frist Foundation, the Cal Tuner Family Foundation, and ESa (Earl Swensson Associates) officially broke ground on May 30 at the site of the Zoo’s planned Animal Health Center.
Designed by ESa, Nashville Zoo’s Animal Health Center will consist of a 20,000+ square foot facility that includes areas for observation, diagnosis, radiology, surgery, laboratory, pharmacy, and administrative functions. The new medical facility will also serve as a teaching center with opportunities for college students to learn about diagnosis, treatment, and management of animal health. Zoo guests will also have educational opportunities by way of a viewing gallery where they can observe surgeries and treatment procedures as well as a nursery.
“The veterinary team is ecstatic to finally be breaking ground on a new, state-of-the-art veterinary hospital,” said Dr. Heather Robertson, Nashville Zoo’s Director of Veterinary Services. “We are excited for visitors to have the opportunity to observe and learn about the care we provide for the 2,500 animals here at the Zoo.”
Construction of the new animal health center is of utmost importance to the development of Nashville Zoo. The current veterinary facility was built in 1989 for a very small collection of indigenous species when the property was under the management of Grassmere Wildlife Park. Nashville Zoo’s tremendous growth over the past 20 years and the planned doubling of our animal collection over the next 8 years highlighted a need for a new, comprehensive medical facility.
Nashville Zoo’s Animal Health Center was funded through a public-private partnership between the City of Nashville and HCA Healthcare and with support from generous private donors including The Frist Foundation, the Cal Turner Family Foundation, The Memorial Foundation, Sally & Jim Hunt, Leah & Jim Sohr, and Becky & Jimmy Webb. ESa and all consultants working with ESa generously donated the design of the new facility. ESa’s Emerging Professionals, the firm’s younger, up-and-coming architects and designers participated in a charrette (a design working session) that contributed to the Animal Health Center’s design.