A rendering of the Rollins Animal Health Center at Zoo Atlanta.

A rendering of the Rollins Animal Health Center at Zoo Atlanta slated for opening in 2024.

Credit: Rough Draft Atlanta

Zoo Atlanta has begun construction on a new $22 million veterinary complex, the Rollins Animal Health Center.

Led by a $3 million investment from the Gary W. Rollins Foundation, the health center will be a hub for zoo animal medicine, research, and academic partnerships. 

President and CEO Raymond B. King announced the complex’s name at a ceremonial groundbreaking at the construction site on July 27.

Prior to beginning construction, Zoo Atlanta had already raised nearly $21 million toward a $22 million goal. In addition to the gift from the Rollins Foundation, donations of $1 million or more came from the Lettie Pate Evans Foundation; Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation; A Friend of the Zoo; The Marcus Foundation; The Sara Giles Moore Foundation; and The Zeist Foundation.

“The Zoo Atlanta Veterinary Team daily provides care for animals representing more than 200 species, from elephants to frogs, and this care is never compromised,” King said. “The Rollins Animal Health Center will replace outdated facilities and enable the Zoo to fully inhabit its growing reputation for excellence in veterinary care. We are deeply grateful to the members of our philanthropic community, who have shown us by their gifts that they have a strong investment in Zoo Atlanta’s indelible place in Atlanta and beyond.”

The Rollins Animal Health Center will include dedicated laboratory, pharmacy, radiology, treatment, and surgical spaces; a CT scanner; interior and exterior animal holding dens and a food preparation kitchen; five animal quarantine dens with dedicated care team member access and dedicated food preparation areas; and office and conference space for the veterinary team.

Mayor Andre Dickens and other officials and guests at the July 27 groundbreaking.

Mayor Andre Dickens and other officials and guests attend the July 27, 2023, groundbreaking of the Rollins Animal Health Center.

Credit: Zoo Atlanta

The facility will also include a necropsy suite. A second floor will feature two dorm rooms, restrooms and laboratory working space in the event veterinary team members need to stay overnight or are hosting visiting colleagues or students. 

The project’s joint general contractors are Turner Construction Company and FS360, with architectural design by Torre Design Consortium Ltd. The complex has a built-in goal of achieving a LEED Certification of Silver or Gold. 

Construction is expected to be completed by summer 2024.

This story comes to GPB through a reporting partnership with Rough Draft Atlanta.