The U.S. Department of Agriculture is planning to construct state-of-the-art new research and administration buildings at the Knipling-Bushland U.S. Livestock Insects Research Laboratory on its property just north of Kerrville, Texas.
USDA’s Agricultural Research Service (ARS) has retained the Merrick & Co. engineering and architectural firm to develop a design for three new buildings at the site, along with support structures, ARS said.
The $54 million project calls for an approximately 50,000 sq. ft. combined Administration & Laboratory Building, an 8,000 sq. ft. Fly & Tick Research Building and an additional 18,000 sq. ft. of ancillary building space. New holding pens and other structures for livestock research also will be constructed, the announcement said.
According to ARS, the new facilities will replace outdated structures on what is now a 34.9-acre campus made up of numerous smaller buildings that were constructed incrementally since the 1960s. The new buildings will house the ARS Livestock Arthropod Pest Research Unit and will provide improved facilities for tick and blood-feeding fly research, which is considered vital to the U.S. cattle industry and is conducted in cooperation with Veterinary Services within USDA’s Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS).
ARS said the new facilities will enhance efforts by ARS and APHIS's International Services to eradicate and prevent screwworm in the U.S. and overseas.
The current schedule calls for construction to start in early 2021. Construction will take approximately two years.
More information about the laboratory and its research on livestock pests can be found here.