The University of Nebraska-Lincoln is scheduled to break ground on a new Veterinary Diagnostic Center April 29 on UNL's East Campus. The groundbreaking is scheduled for 4 p.m. with a reception afterward in the Ken Morrison Life Sciences Research Center, 4240 Fair St.
The VDC, Nebraska's only accredited veterinary diagnostic lab, improves animal health through diagnostics and disease surveillance, protecting the state's livestock industry. The center develops cutting-edge testing methods and supports food safety and biomedical research. It works with public health officials to diagnose animal diseases that can lead to human illnesses and processes samples submitted by the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission to monitor and prevent the spread of wildlife diseases such as rabies and Chronic Wasting Disease.
The center provides testing services to professionals and organizations across the nation and is considered a national center of excellence for testing of certain diseases in livestock. The VDC and its staff also teach UNL students, who get to experience real-world lessons in its labs.
Don Reynolds, director of the UNL School of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, said there is a great need for an updated facility. "We need to modernize to ensure that we protect animal health in the state of Nebraska."
The current center was built in 1975 and is insufficient to meet modern needs. The center's shortcomings include space limitations, poor ventilation and building design that carries increased risk for cross-contamination of contagious pathogens and pathogen exposure.
The Nebraska Legislature approved the new center in 2012. The project cost is $44.7 million, of which $4.1 million is coming from private funds. The other $40.6 million will be appropriated over 10 years in financial bonds.
The new center is projected to be completed by the end of 2017.
Chancellor Harvey Perlman, NU Foundation President Brian Hastings and NU Vice President and IANR Vice Chancellor Ronnie Green are scheduled to attend the groundbreaking celebration.