Plans are underway for a world-class veterinary centre at Wild Place Project.
The new European Centre of Excellence for Zoological Medicine (ECEZM) will be the UK's first Zoo medicine and learning space open to the public.
As well as providing a world-class zoological medicine teaching facility and commercial vet hospital for exotic animals, the Centre will offer a large interactive exhibition space and classrooms for members of the public - all under one roof.
The Centre has been designed to ensure all three functions can operate simultaneously, offering the public a unique opportunity to watch live veterinary procedures during their visit.
It will be located within the 55 hectare grounds of Wild Place Project, providing unparalleled zoo-based practical experience and teaching facilities for vets and vet students from Europe and beyond. It will also house one of Europe's most highly qualified zoo veterinary teams.
The plans have been developed by Bristol Zoological Society, which also operates Bristol Zoo Gardens - the sister attraction to Wild Place Project.
Chief executive officer of Bristol Zoological Society, Dr Bryan Carroll, said: "These innovative plans for our European Centre of Excellence for Zoological Medicine form a key part our exciting future vision for Wild Place Project. We intend this facility to offer one of Europe's finest teaching facilities for zoological medicine and veterinary practice."
Dr Carroll added: "Consultations with key stakeholders are now underway and we have a lot of work ahead of us, but it is an exciting time. After its initial opening in 2013, Wild Place Project continues to grow and develop at a fantastic pace and receives such great support from visitors as well as the local and wider community. We hope that the new Centre will provide a valuable resource to all who visit and use it as well as those who will benefit from the unique learning experience that it will offer."
Robert Delius, divisional director architect and head of sustainable design at Stride Treglown which designed the building, said: "Sustainability and fitting into the natural environment were important elements in the design of the Centre. We took inspiration from the landscape at Wild Place Project as well as from animals themselves, and as such we have incorporated features such as a rib-like curving timber internal structure and a 'skin' of overlapping photovoltaic panels.
Proposals for the Centre were unveiled earlier this month during a visit to Wild Place Project by His Royal Highness, The Earl of Wessex.
The facility will offer residencies and other training programmes for qualified vets, as well as postgraduate student placements and work experience for vet students and nurses. Bristol Zoological Society is also in concept discussions with At-Bristol over the interactive exhibit design and ideas for the public learning area.
The European Centre of Excellence for Zoological Medicine (CEZM) is an important part of the Bristol Zoological Society's strategic growth plan for the Wild Place Project. Work on developing the Centre will be undertaken in a phased approach, beginning in 2020.
Bristol Zoological Society is a conservation and education charity and relies on the generous support of the public not only to fund its important work in the Zoo and at Wild Place Project, but also its vital conservation and research projects spanning five continents.