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Mon, Sept. 16

Land swap to give UofA property for Verde Valley veterinary school

A 13.3-acre piece of land at the V-Bar-V Ranch in Rimrock was assumed to be owned by the University of Arizona, until the US Forest Service found otherwise. US Senators Kyrsten Sinema and Martha McSally have proposed a bipartisan land exchange that would grant ownership of the land to the university. Pictured, the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, on the V-Bar-V Ranch. VVN/Bill Helm

A 13.3-acre piece of land at the V-Bar-V Ranch in Rimrock was assumed to be owned by the University of Arizona, until the US Forest Service found otherwise. US Senators Kyrsten Sinema and Martha McSally have proposed a bipartisan land exchange that would grant ownership of the land to the university. Pictured, the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, on the V-Bar-V Ranch. VVN/Bill Helm

RIMROCK – U.S. Senators Kyrsten Sinema and Martha McSally have proposed a land swap between the University of Arizona and the U.S. Forest Service that would be a solution to a misunderstanding.

That’s what Mitch McClaran said Wednesday about legislation – a bipartisan land exchange agreement that would in part be home for the university’s proposed College of Veterinary Medicine.

The land that the University of Arizona would acquire – 13.3 acres – is on the site of the V-Bar-V Ranch in Rimrock and is used by the university for its College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

The College of Agriculture and Life Sciences ranch is a research center for environmental, wildlife and domestic livestock issues.

According to McClaran, the University of Arizona’s associate director at the Arizona Experiment Station, the U.S. Forest Service and the university both thought that the university already owned the land.

“The Forest Service was going through records, not specific to this, and a discovery was made,” McClaran said. “The discovery was quite a surprise.”

Since 1995, the University of Arizona has operated its College of Agriculture and Life Sciences on the site.

In exchange, the USFS would acquire an equally-valued parcel of land from Mahan Park according to a press release from McSally’s office.

Should the trade take place, the university would have “greater tenure in delivering research and training programs,” McClaran said.

According to the press release, the legislation would allow the University of Arizona to own the ranch’s winter headquarters “outright in order to add new buildings and required infrastructure to house students” who would participate in the College of Veterinary Medicine.

“The V-Bar-V Ranch is the perfect place for University of Arizona students to get hands-on experience learning about cattle, ranching and large animal medicine,” McSally said in the press release. “This bipartisan bill will allow the University of Arizona to house and train the next generation of large animal veterinarians and expand its community education initiatives.”

Besides seeking accreditation for its new College of Veterinary Medicine program, the University of Arizona hopes to expand the use of the 13 acres as an educational facility for veterinary students, McClaran said.

“It’s securing our continued presence in the community,” he said. “This is a very amicable relationship between the university and the forest service.”

Follow Bill Helm on Twitter @BillHelm42

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