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Tampa, Florida -- The Tampa City Council unanimously authorized up to $6.5 million in financing to assist Lowry Park Zoological Society with capital improvement needs.

The financing originated from a private bank to the Society, which manages Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo. The Zoo's strong financial operations and the number of campaign pledges already received qualified the Zoo to receive the loan. City approval was necessary for the Zoo to benefit from tax-exempt rates.

"The Zoo is extremely well run with fiscal responsibility and financial discipline, talented staff, and committed trustees," said Allen R. Brinkman II, SunTrust Bank chairman, president and CEO for Tampa Bay and South Florida."SunTrust is proud to be the Zoo's bank partner for this important project."

The purpose of the bank loan is to provide immediate funding for capital investment at Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo including a new animal care complex.

"Over the last 26 years, the Zoo has more than doubled in size, but our animal care facilities have not," said Dick Stohler, co-chair of the New Horizons Campaign and a director of the Lowry Park Zoo Endowment Foundation. "The new animal care complex will provide the medical facilities necessary to meet our expanding needs and support future growth."

The first phases of new construction will include a 12,000 square foot veterinary hospital and a 2,000 square foot animal commissary building. Future construction will add a new 4,000 square foot conservation center for the Zoo's animal care staff and visiting researchers.

The animal care complex will be located just off the boardwalk of the Mason M. and Charles P. Lykes Florida Wildlife Center. When complete, it will consist of four buildings:

  • A veterinary hospital with dedicated areas for surgery, pharmacy, radiology, labs and veterinary offices
  • Quarantine and holding for animal patients
  • Commissary to prepare daily diets for more than 1,000 animals
  • A conservation center for study.

The new veterinary hospital and animal commissary are expected to be completed by the end of 2014.

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