Primary care for pets has a bright future at Kansas State University's College of Veterinary Medicine thanks to a record sponsorship by Hill's Pet Nutrition.

With Hill's sponsorship — the largest corporate gift in the college's history — three strategic areas in the college's Mosier Hall will be renovated to provide approximately 16,000 square feet of new space dedicated to clinical training, classroom teaching and research. The Pet Health & Nutrition Center will be named in honor of Hill's Pet Nutrition.

"This public-private partnership will enhance our educational capacity in small animal nutrition and client communication, strengthening the preparation of our graduates for success in private practice," said Bonnie Rush, interim dean of the college. "We are grateful to Hill's for its tremendous generosity and investment in our students. This integrative partnership enhances the educational experience for K-State veterinary students through shared resources and expertise. The new experiential learning environment will strengthen our training program in nutrition and primary care, and will attract student externs from colleges of veterinary medicine across North America."

"Kansas State is an important partner for Hill's Pet Nutrition as it harbors one of the most important veterinary schools in the Midwest of the U.S., said Jesper Nordengaard, vice president and general manager, Hill's US. "We are proud to support the Pet Health & Nutrition Center as we believe that it fits seamlessly in our vision to help enrich and lengthen the special relationship between people and their pets."

By renovating the space and expanding resources, students will have the opportunity to care for their clients in a private practice environment. While pet health faculty will have the capability to operate with more autonomy, specialty services remain available when clients' needs arise, Rush said.

The renovation includes the deconstruction of Frick Auditorium to create 3,400 square feet of space on the first floor of Mosier Hall for the new Hill's Pet Health & Nutrition Center. This project also will allow the addition of a 5,000-square-foot research suite on the second floor.

"We are truly excited and grateful to Hill's for partnering with us to provide this opportunity to teach primary care skills in a facility more representative of a true companion animal practice," said Susan Nelson, clinical professor in the College of Veterinary Medicine. "The new facility will allow us to be more feline friendly and enhance student training in all areas of primary care, especially in the areas of nutrition, communication, business management, diagnostics and routine surgical procedures."

"We are honored to support this great initiative, which will put K-State's College of Veterinary Medicine at the forefront of primary care and nutrition education," said Jolle Kirpensteijn, chief professional veterinary officer, Hill's US. "We look forward to a continued partnership to create a future generation of veterinarians, fully knowledgeable and confident in making nutritional recommendations, every pet, every time."

A 270-seat contemporary auditorium will be constructed in a new area of the veterinary medicine complex. Rush said additional benefits from the renovations include provision of a comprehensive educational experience in small animal nutrition and communication with pet owners; expansion of wellness training opportunities for students; additional space for routine procedures; better capabilities to serve the wellness needs of small animal clients; dedicated space for communication training and rounds; and dedicated space for nutritional displays and nutrition consultation.