A historic milestone was achieved in West Texas, as Texas Tech University broke ground on its new veterinary school Thursday morning in Amarillo.

The Amarillo campus is set to join Texas A&M as the only other vet school in the state, opening its doors in the fall of 2021. 

"This is the first public medical school in the country in four decades. It's the first veterinary school in the state in over a century," Texas Tech Chancellor Tedd Mitchell said.

In fact, Mitchell said this is a move for West Texas that has been 50 years in the making. 

"If you look at the process itself, the state has been speaking of this need since 1971. The first conversation I had after starting as the President of the Texas Tech Health Sciences Center in Amarillo in 2010 was that we needed to readdress the problem. So we really started this in 2015, but it's a process that was put in place in 1971," Mitchell said.

Mitchell said this will finally help fix the shortage of rural vets in the state, but he said the vision of this school was formed by former Texas Tech Chancellor Robert Duncan.

All along, Duncan said his vision has been 'why not us?'

"I'm really proud of the way West Texas has pulled together on this. This is an effort where hundreds of people became involved and became convinced that it is our time and there's no reason we can't do this out here, and we just really worked hard to get this done," Duncan said.

Duncan was forced to retire last year, ahead of the Tech Board of Regents approving the project.

Just a few months later, the Texas Legislature approved millions to jump-start it.

"It took a lot of political things to happen, and a lot of pieces to come together, but it was the whole team effort of all the people in West Texas," Duncan said.

At the end of the day, Chancellor Mitchell said he also hopes this new vet school will keep more Texans in Texas. 

"What has happened over the past hundred years is we've just grown beyond the capacity of a single school to supply the needs of what we have here in the Panhandle, across the state, and across the region," Mitchell said.

Watch the ceremony below: