Auburn University holds ribbon-cutting for new educational complex in Gulf Shores

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In a move that strengthens the educational and economic development resources for the citizens of South Alabama and the Gulf Coast, Auburn University launched a new educational complex in Gulf Shores Tuesday with a ribbon-cutting ceremony and tour of the facility.

The 24,000-square-foot Auburn University Educational Complex will offer veterinary care, aviation instruction, research administration and Alabama Extension support for that region, delivering a tangible value to the state of Alabama while providing the community access to Auburn’s pioneering research and innovative faculty. The centerpiece of the complex will be the Auburn Veterinary Specialists–Gulf Shores veterinary referral center, which is slated for operation later this year.

“At Auburn, we seize every opportunity to fulfill our land-grant mission,” said Auburn University President Steven Leath. “This outstanding facility affords more Alabamians access to Auburn’s world-renowned faculty, innovations and discoveries, and it expands our capacity for transformational instruction, research and outreach.”

Adjacent to Gulf Shores’ planned Coastal Alabama Center for Education Excellence, the new complex expands Auburn’s role as a partnership university, anchoring Auburn’s efforts in South Alabama and coordinating research among faculty and researchers on the Gulf Coast.

“Establishing the Auburn University Educational Complex is a giant step in the right direction for the future of education in our community and we couldn’t be prouder or more excited to welcome the Auburn Family to Gulf Shores,” said Gulf Shores Mayor Robert Craft.

The complex’s 12,000-square-foot veterinary center will provide specialty veterinary care in surgery and internal medicine on a referral basis and will allow senior-level veterinary students to participate in two weeks of clinical rotation under the supervision of clinical faculty. The veterinary center offers six exam rooms, two operating rooms, intensive and critical care areas, a treatment suite and endoscopy room, a clinical laboratory, a pharmaceutical dispensing area, comprehensive imaging capabilities (MRI, CT, ultrasound and radiography), an infectious diseases isolation area, pet nutrition kitchen and separate housing capabilities for dogs and cats.

Also housed at the complex is the Auburn University Aviation Center, designed to provide aviation learning opportunities for K-12 students as well as host Unmanned Aircraft Systems courses to prepare students, entrepreneurs and professionals for such industries as mapping and surveying, precision agriculture and public safety.

The Alabama Cooperative Extension System will offer a plant diagnostic lab at the complex, helping plant nursery operators, farmers and homeowners diagnose and manage plant disease and insect problems. A new Extension agent will likewise be housed there, and a resource room will help expand the Master Gardener network in Baldwin County. In addition, the complex will feature a landscape demonstration and training garden for industry and homeowner programs.

Along with the complex’s outreach and partnership offerings, the new location serves as a base of operations for Auburn’s regional economic development and entrepreneurial activity through administrative space for Auburn’s Office of the Vice President for Research. Meeting and office space is available there for collaboration among business and industry leaders and Auburn experts. Focus areas will include coordinating research in additive manufacturing (3D printing) and training highly skilled technical personnel focused on aerospace.

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Auburn University is a nationally ranked land grant institution recognized for its commitment to world-class scholarship, interdisciplinary research with an elite, top-tier Carnegie R1 classification, life-changing outreach with Carnegie’s Community Engagement designation and an undergraduate education experience second to none. Auburn is home to more than 30,000 students, and its faculty and research partners collaborate to develop and deliver meaningful scholarship, science and technology-based advancements that meet pressing regional, national and global needs. Auburn’s commitment to active student engagement, professional success and public/private partnership drives a growing reputation for outreach and extension that delivers broad economic, health and societal impact.