Iowa State University will submit a significant request to the Iowa Legislature in January in hopes of obtaining funding for a new addition to the existing ISU College of Veterinarian Medicine’s Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory.
Lawmakers will be asked to provide a $100 million appropriation spread out over five years to fund an 83,000 square foot addition and to renovate and repurpose 27,500 square feet of the existing facility.
ISU will supply $4 million of the necessary funding and seek another $20 million in private gifts. The Iowa Pork Producers Association has already promised $1 million for the facility.
The existing VDL was built in 1976 and has become outdated and overcrowded, according to the university. The caseload has doubled over the past five years and the lab now houses 25 faculty and 115 technical staff in space that was originally built for 11 faculty and 20 techs.
The VDL processes more than 75,000 submissions each year (more than 1.5 million tests overall) and it provides highly valued service to pork producers and veterinarians, among others. It was the first to identify the new and highly virulent viruses Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus (PEDV) and Porcine Delta Coronavirus in the U.S. in 2013 and 2014.
In addition to valuable research, the vet lab also provides a world-class learning environment for future veterinarians and veterinary researchers.
Project plans call for a 21st Century facility that will enhance testing capacity, enable the state of Iowa to stay ahead of emerging diseases and sustain its high level of competitiveness in an ever-increasing globalized marketplace.
IPPA will keep producer/members updated on the request and grassroots support will be key in obtaining the necessary funding from the state.