As the Nashville Zoo has looked to double its animal collection over the next eight years, infrastructure and services must also grow, according to zoo officials. That's why the zoo has planned to build a new $13 million animal hospital by 2018.
"Our current animal hospital was built in the 80's," said Dr. Heather Robertson, the zoo's Director of Veterinary Services. "We've made due with it."
Dr. Heather has spent eight years with the Nashville Zoo and has watched it grow at an unprecedented rate.
"Since I've been here, we've added kangaroo, tortoise, flamingo," she said.
But that also meant more work for her staff and more animals to accommodate.
"Right now we max out in a surgery room at about 300 pounds, so that's like a small tiger," she said. "This new hospital will give us larger surgery rooms, larger holding space."
The new hospital will be 20,000 square feet and will also feature an educational center where visitors can watch staff work with the animals.
The zoo has planned to open the center in 2018.