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'Silicon Valley of Agriculture': CSU Spur Campus Opens At National Western Stock Show Complex

DENVER (CBS4) – Colorado State University and the City and County of Denver have officially opened the first phase of the "CSU Spur" campus, a brand new research and learning campus on the National Western Stock Show Complex which is being called the "Silicon Valley of Agriculture."

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The first facility to open on the campus, named "Vida," hosts an animal hospital as well as the Temple Grandin Equine Center. The campus was made possible by a partnership with the National Western, the City and County of Denver, the state legislature, the Denver Dumb Friends League and Colorado State University.

While students with Colorado State University will be able to pursue an education through the facility, the foundation of the vision for the Spur campus is to offer local grade school students access to learning opportunities.

"To put these facilities aimed at a K-12 partnership and pipeline directly here in the center of town was a really special opportunity for us," said Dr. Tony Frank, Chancellor of Colorado State University System.

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The facility was designed to give the general public access to learning opportunities.

The vet hospital, operated by the Denver Dumb Friends League, has several operation and examination rooms that have glass panels as walls. That allows the public and students to sit outside and watch as live exams and operations take place. The rooms also have cameras and microphones in them so the audience can better experience the procedure.

The Vida facility's animal hospital will only be accessible by those who are experiencing financial difficulties. They can bring their animals to the campus for free care.

"It is only intended for people who cannot afford it because this is donor subsidized," said Apryl Steel, CEO of the DDFL. "People can come in who can't afford veterinary care, the prices are greatly-greatly reduced, and we don't turn anyone away for lack of ability to pay."

The Temple Grandin Equine Center offers therapy for both horses and humans. Both children and adults can receive therapy by riding and caring for horses that live on the campus.

Outside horses are also able to take advantage of therapies for themselves, including an underwater treadmill.

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"We hope through all of that to inspire the next generation to get more kids college ready and have more of them go to college," Frank told CBS4's Dillon Thomas. "To let everybody know there is a pathway to college for them, and they are part of that future."

Two more facilities on the campus will soon open, including one which focuses on issues and studies related to water resources.

"The ripples they should create, and the generations of kids who will go to college who may not have before the difference their lives will make and the difference in the lives of their families and subsequent generations, that is a powerful legacy and that is what excites me most about this opportunity," Frank said.

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