University of Wisconsin-Madison

School of Veterinary Medicine Addition & Renovation

Wisconsin's only veterinary medicine school: Expanding operations and advancing animal and human health.

Opened in 1983, the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Veterinary Medicine (UW-Madison Vet Med) swiftly garnered a reputation as one of the foremost institutions in its field, ranking in the top 10 in the United States. It serves as a hub for education, research, and clinical practice, offering cutting-edge laboratory and classroom space and housing a veterinary medical teaching hospital - UW Veterinary Care.

The school's dedicated faculty, staff, and students across its four academic departments deliver a comprehensive four-year Doctor of Veterinary Medicine program and advanced research training in fundamental animal and human health areas through its Comparative Biomedical Science graduate program. Since opening its doors, the UW-Madison Vet Med has graduated over 2,500 veterinarians, conducted thousands of patient visits yearly, and contributed essential research in veterinary and human medicine worldwide.


Madison, WI


  • C.D. Smith Construction Inc. - General Contractor
  • Flad Architects - Architect of Record

Building Size

177,000 square feet

The building exterior in front of Observatory Drive.

veterinarian graduates
patients served each year

Being the lone school of veterinary medicine in Wisconsin, UW Veterinary Care was initially constructed over 30 years ago to accommodate 12,000 patients annually; however, it now grapples with a staggering caseload of over 28,000 patients each year. This rapid growth in research activities, evident from a 58 percent increase in research expenditures over the past five years, has further strained available space, particularly for high-demand specialty services. The limitations in both space and infrastructure have impacted the scheduling capacity for critical services. Additionally, the influx of veterinary medical students - up by 20 percent - has exacerbated the challenges, leaving crowded halls during hospital rounds.

As the educational and research programs, caseloads, and space limitations continued to grow, so did the urgency to renovate and expand the UW-Madison Vet Med to maintain clinical services, research discoveries, and academic excellence. AEI was hired for this 139,000-square-foot addition and the renovation of portions of the existing South Building, transforming the institution’s facilities and capabilities.

AEI provided mechanical, electrical, piping/plumbing, instrumentation & controls, fire protection, and building performance design services along with Pivotal Lighting Design’s architectural lighting solutions. The renovations within the existing UW-Madison Vet Med facility offer a contemporary space and significant technology upgrades for the small and large animal hospitals, and the new three-story addition seamlessly connects with the existing building at every level.

High-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) trap small, harmful particles, such as pollen, pet dander, smoke and dust mites by forcing air through a fine mesh.

The renovations and additions supplied the following enhancements and features to the UW-Madison Vet Med building:

  • Increased exam room space to accommodate a growing caseload and reduce client wait times.
  • A larger waiting area with dedicated spaces for felines and small exotics, minimizing stress on patients and families.
  • An upgraded Emergency and Critical Care unit capable of handling more patients and featuring a more comfortable recovery area.
  • A covered, enclosed arena for large animal neurological and lameness examinations.
  • An expanded and modernized large animal wing, the sole facility of its kind in Wisconsin, ensuring safer examination and patient recovery.

Cardiology interventional suite equipment.

energy savings annually (ASHRAE 90.1-2013 baseline building)
  • A dedicated cancer center harnessing the expertise of the school’s renowned medical and radiation oncologists.
  • Enhanced diagnostic imaging capabilities integrate state-of-the-art technologies, including an in-house MRI for small and large animal patients and updated CT.
  • New spaces for hospital rounds within UW Veterinary Care, a key area for student training, and collaborative learning spaces benefiting instruction.
  • A market café, rooftop terrace, and outdoor courtyard with greenery, offering areas for relaxation and leisure.
  • Expanded laboratories, including advanced labs for researching naturally occurring animal and human diseases, providing updated and spacious facilities for crucial global research on infectious diseases.

AEI’s design team implemented engineering systems-related energy-saving measures, estimating an annual energy savings of nearly 10 percent. The renovated and expanded UW-Madison Vet Med building features energy-efficient office equipment that reduces heat gain and minimizes the strain on the facility’s HVAC system.

Advanced mechanical systems, including variable volume systems and energy recovery technologies, such as total energy wheels and sensible-only run-around coils, maintain efficient heating and cooling while reducing energy consumption. Furthermore, public visitor spaces, including waiting rooms and lobbies, are provided with in-floor radiant slabs, decreasing the need for additional fan energy while enhancing thermal comfort for humans and animals.

Pivotal Lighting Design's architectural lighting solutions in the market café.

Additionally, the design team followed the American Institute of Architects’ COTE® Top 10 Toolkit, which focuses on ten domains of sustainable design and emphasizes the diverse benefits throughout the project.

Pivotal Lighting Design seamlessly integrated interior and exterior lighting solutions to complement the building’s architectural design while preserving energy consumption. Along the exterior landscape, full cut-off LED luminaires effectively curtail light spillage into the night sky and the adjacent wildlife habitat, aligning with UW-Madison Vet Med’s efforts to minimize the environmental impact on the neighboring Willow Creek fauna. LED lighting across all areas and occupancy and daylight sensors ensure artificial lighting solely operates when necessary, resulting in lower electric energy use.

Doubling the size of the small animal hospital and tripling the research space for infectious diseases, the enhanced facility addresses the severe space shortages and aging infrastructure the school previously endured. The renovations and expansion secure UW-Madison Vet Med’s position at the forefront of educating the next generation of veterinarians, leading efforts in vital research that improves animal and human health, and growing to serve thousands of more patients across the United States.

A rendering of the exterior at night. Courtesy of Flad Architects.

Project Leaders