GULF SHORES, Ala. (AP) – Auburn University and the city of Gulf Shores are partnering on a new $12 million college facility and center for the College of Veterinary Medicine.

Gulf Shores Mayor Robert Craft said during a news conference Monday that the city will build the 24,000-square-foot building and lease it to Auburn.

The satellite campus will sit on 26 acres within a 200-acre parcel located along the Foley Beach Express, northeast of the city’s main business district. The exact location will be near the intersection of the Foley Beach Express and County Road 8.

The veterinary center will be an extension of the Veterinary Teaching Hospital in Auburn and will provide specialty services in the region.

“We see this as an opportunity to more efficiently serve regional veterinarians and advance animal health while providing an expanded educational experience for our students and residents,” said Calvin Johnson, Dean of Auburn’s College of Veterinary Medicine, in a press release.

The campus will also house programs related to organic horticulture, marine fisheries and specialty mapping, among others.

Construction is expected to begin next spring or summer, and will be completed within 18 months.

“We are honored that Auburn University has decided to invest in Gulf Shores and are thrilled to welcome them as a significant partner in education and the future of our community,” said Mayor Craft in a press release. “This announcement is a major step forward in making the Coastal Alabama Center for Educational Excellence a reality and advances our mission to enhance the educational opportunities and services available to our residents.”

The City of Gulf Shores also hinted at several other Auburn programs that will be housed inside the facility in a press release Monday afternoon:

  • College of Agriculture: ongoing teaching and research activities related to marine fisheries and aquaculture and ornamental horticulture
  • Auburn Aviation Center: non-credit training courses such as Unmanned Aircraft Systems certificate; specialty courses such as mapping/surveying, precision agriculture and public safety; and K-12 outreach through the Striped Wings student ambassador program and camps for various grade levels
  • Office of Research and Economic Development: coordinating research in additive manufacturing and training highly skilled technical personnel heavily focused for aerospace and providing collaboration opportunities with selected research institutions, community colleges, Airbus and its suppliers, GE Aviation and other manufacturers in the Gulf Coast region
  • Alabama Cooperative Extension System: plant diagnostic laboratory to support the local commercial market and homeowners, master gardener’s resource office and various 4-H activities and extension meetings for area residents