Veterinary students benefit from new surgery teaching facility

May 23, 2011

New state of the art surgery facilities at Murdoch University’s School of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences have enhanced the education and training of veterinary students.

The $9m high tech facility designed by architectural practice Hames Sharley and built by Pyramic Constructions WA, features a large surgical preparation area, including facilities for surgeon preparation and animal anaesthesia. In addition, there is a large fully-equipped sterile surgery facility including closed circuit cameras to enable students to view live procedures from a distant location.

The Commonwealth Government contributed around $3m to the cost of the building with the remainder coming from the Murdoch University Veterinary Trust, and the University itself. The new facility replaces the original surgery teaching rooms built in 1976 when Murdoch was founded.

Professor David Hampson, Acting Dean of the School of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences, said the previous facility was no longer adequate for the demands of teaching veterinary science.

“Already the new building has made a huge improvement to the medical and surgical training of veterinary students,” said Prof Hampson.

“It means we can teach a larger number of students across different species in a positive teaching environment with adequate space and the latest equipment. The closed circuit cameras and multiple plasma screens mean we can more effectively demonstrate procedures to a larger number of students at one time.

“This is important because over the years enrolment of veterinary students has increased at Murdoch in order to meet the demand for qualified veterinarians.

“This facility is suitable for large interactive seminars and medical demonstrations and would be suitable for other medical education groups.”

Since it opened in August 2010, the building has been used extensively in the veterinary curriculum, including classes in small animal surgery and anaesthesia, small ruminant surgery and anaesthesia, and medical examination and animal handling classes.

In addition, the sterile surgery suite is the location for the final year surgery classes that conduct sterilisation of dogs and cats for the RSPCA and other charitable rescue and shelter groups. The facility is also used to conduct continuing education to the local veterinary community. The second floor is a large area with high quality audiovisual equipment suitable for small group teaching.

The building itself boasts recycled and recyclable materials such as steel, copper and aluminium and a number of other features which ensures it meets the university’s obligation to address global environmental concerns. The building fabric is designed to achieve high levels of thermal insulation, while the heating, ventilating and air conditioning system has been broken down into several discrete plant units that allows for the shutting down of rooms when not in use.

The building was completed ahead of time and under budget.

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