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UNL to break ground on new vet diagnostic center

New veterinary diagnostic lab to replace one built in 1975.

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) will break ground April 29 for a new Veterinary Diagnostic Center (VDC) on its East Campus in Lincoln, Neb.

VDC — Nebraska's only accredited veterinary diagnostic laboratory — improves animal health through diagnostics and disease surveillance, protecting the state's livestock industry. The center also 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 & 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.

Don Reynolds, director of the UNL School of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, said there is a great need for an updated facility.

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.

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