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Rosamond Gifford Zoo breaks ground on new $8M animal health center project

By Eric Reinhardt (


Onondaga County Executive Ryan McMahon (center, holding papers) on Thursday spoke at the groundbreaking for construction of the new animal health center at the Rosamond Gifford Zoo. Ted Fox (left), the zoo’s executive director, joined McMahon at the mid-morning event. Zoo officials also brought two camels to the groundbreaking, both of which McMahon said would benefit from the upcoming center. (Eric Reinhardt / CNYBJ)

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — The Rosamond Gifford Zoo on Thursday morning broke ground on construction of a new animal health center.

The project is a $7.5 million investment, Onondaga County Executive Ryan McMahon said.

“This money was appropriated … in 2018 with the public-private partnership we have with our Friends at the Zoo, the Friends group will be donating $1.2 million worth of medical equipment to the health center,” said McMahon.

The zoo hopes to have the project completed by July 2021.

Onondaga County and Rosamond Gifford Zoo officials on Thursday broke ground on construction of new animal health center, a project that will cost about $8 million and will replace an existing health center in the zoo’s main building. (Eric Reinhardt / CNYBJ)

Zoo officials have been waiting for this day for a really long time, said Ted Fox, director of the Rosamond Gifford Zoo, who joined McMahon for the groundbreaking.

“The health-care center that’s in the zoo now in the main building has served its purpose was really state-of-the-art when the zoo was redone in the [1980s],” Fox said in his remarks. “But this facility is going to really knock it out of the park in terms of animal care and wellness.

Fox and other zoo officials came to the Onondaga County Legislature and discussed the need for a new health clinic.

“First off to continue the accreditation at the zoo, but also, as you know, we’ve had a lot of events here where we are entrusted some of the most amazing animals in the world and to continue that, we need the ability to make sure that they receive the proper health care,” McMahon said in his remarks.

McMahon noted that VIP Structures of Syracuse designed the project and Upstate Companies of Mt. Upton in Chenango County is the general contractor on the project. Environmental Design & Research, Landscape Architecture, Engineering, & Environmental Services, D.P.C. (EDR) of Syracuse is also conducting engineering work on the project.

Burns Bros. Contractors of Syracuse will handle the mechanical and plumbing work in the building as well.