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LIU Post veterinary school a big plus for Long Island

LIU Post campus in Brookville.

LIU Post campus in Brookville. Credit: Kevin P. Coughlin

LIU Post already has horses on its Brookville campus.

Now, add dogs and cats, and a host of other animals, too.

That’s part of what it will take to complete a project with far-reaching implications for the university — and for the region.

In the fall of 2019, pending state and federal accreditation, LIU will open a four-year veterinary school, the first of its kind in the metropolitan area and the 31st in the country. With an expected enrollment of 400 students — 100 in each year of study — the school will train future veterinarians and researchers and widen the spotlight on Long Island’s fine colleges and universities. Offering a doctorate of veterinary medicine will be an asset for LIU, on top of its equine studies and veterinary technology programs.

And it will provide an economic boost for the Island. Start with the $40 million project to build the school, including $12 million in state funds meant for projects that could create jobs and opportunities, especially in life sciences. LIU will construct a 47,000-square-foot building and renovate 13,000 square feet of additional space. The school will boast a $20 million payroll and 100 full-time jobs, along with hundreds of students who will flock to the Island for schooling they can’t get elsewhere in the area, and will work as interns and residents in local veterinary clinics and hospitals.

But the school’s effects will multiply when combined with other academic institutions, laboratory spaces, and veterinary offices and hospitals on the Island. Together, they create a cluster of opportunity — assets that could form the foundation of a new segment of Long Island’s economy in biotechnology and related industries, fields that advocates say are key to the Island’s economic growth.

Indeed, the LIU veterinary school is the kind of research institution that will bring to the Island talented researchers and veterinarians who can put their skills to use. And that could help attract corporations and high-paying, high-skilled jobs to the region, giving graduating students reason to stay on the Island.

It’s an exciting moment, and the region’s leaders should capitalize on it by getting out the word about the new school, encouraging links between the universities and businesses, and providing incentives for business development and job creation. Perhaps this time, Long Island’s old dogs will learn some new tricks.