December 15, 2013

 

 New diagnostic lab planned in Nebraska

Posted Dec. 4, 2013

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln plans to replace its Veterinary Diagnostic Center. Built in 1975 on UNL’s East Campus, the center no longer meets modern laboratory standards, according to a university press release.

The center provides testing services for professionals and organizations across the nation, processing 13,000 cases annually, and training for students at the university’s School of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, which has a primary focus in infectious diseases.

An accreditation review in late 2011 by the American Association of Veterinary Laboratory Diagnosticians indicated deficiencies, including poor ventilation, obsolete building design resulting in increased risk for cross-contamination of contagious pathogens and diagnostic errors, overcrowding and limited space for future growth, and inaccessibility for people with disabilities.

During the 2012 session, the Nebraska Legislature approved, and Gov. Dave Heineman signed, legislation to build a new center. Total project cost is $45.6 million, of which $4 million is to come from private or other funds. The $41.5 million will be appropriated over 10 years in financial bonds. The state funding is contingent on the university successfully raising its share.

Nebraska’s Coordinating Commission for Postsecondary Education approved plans to replace the aging building on Oct. 30, 2013. The proposed 65,000-square-foot diagnostic laboratory is the most complex and costly per square foot that the commission has ever considered, Mike Wemhoff, facilities officer at the commission, was quoted as saying in a Nov. 1 Omaha World-Herald article.

University officials hope to launch the project before the end of 2014.