A ribbon cutting ceremony for the new South Dakota Animal Disease Research and Diagnostic Laboratory (ADRDL) on the South Dakota State University campus in Brookings will be held on Sept. 6. The ribbon cutting and a short program will begin at 4:30 p.m. and guided public tours will immediately follow the program, with the last tour departing at 7:30 p.m.
The laboratory serves as the front line of defense in protecting South Dakota's $7.3 billion livestock industry against diseases and provides important diagnostic information for the state's wildlife and companion animals.
"The expansion and renovation of the Animal Disease Research and Diagnostic Laboratory is critical to animal health, public health and food safety,” South Dakota State Veterinarian Dustin Oedekoven said. “This facility will protect the dedicated and talented people who work in the laboratory and will give them the tools to do the best work possible. Expert veterinary laboratory diagnostic and research capacity is important for the timely identification of emerging and zoonotic diseases, and for the continuity of business when animal health events occur."
The ribbon cutting ceremony will take place on the northwest side of the new ADRDL building. The new facility includes an attached addition to the north of the current building on the SDSU campus.
Dr. Jane Christopher-Hennings, head of the SDSU Department of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences and director of the South Dakota ADRDL, explains the importance of the lab to the people of South Dakota and the country.
“The ADRDL is a key component in protecting both human and animal health in South Dakota," Christopher-Hennings said. "The lab promotes animal health by detecting diseases and finding methods to control them, as well as safe-guarding human health by dealing with food safety issues and zoonotic diseases."
The ADRDL is South Dakota’s only accredited, full-service, all-species veterinary diagnostic laboratory. The ADRDL has a long history of serving the citizens of the state and region with timely and accurate veterinary diagnostic services.
It is the only veterinary diagnostic laboratory in the state accredited by the American Association of Veterinary Laboratory Diagnosticians (AAVLD). In addition, the laboratory is an integral member of the National Animal Health Laboratory Network (NAHLN), a network of diagnostic laboratories across the U.S. that help detect nationally significant animal diseases such as influenza, Foot & Mouth Disease, African Swine Fever and other foreign animal diseases. Expertise in detecting agents of food-borne illness is important in the ADRDL's role as a regional laboratory for the Food Emergency Response Network (FERN).
The laboratory also participates through the FDA Genome “Trakr” Program for detection of pathogens in food and the USDA Veterinary Laboratory Investigation Response Network (VET-LIRN) to help the center of Veterinary Medicine investigate potential problems with regulated products such as animal feeds and animal pharmaceuticals.
The renovation and expansion of the ADRDL is important for continuing operations since many of the mechanical systems of the old building needed to be replaced or updated to current standards (e.g., plumbing, HVAC, electrical). A drive-up window for dropping off samples provides easy access to the lab which is located off of Medary Avenue in close proximity to the U.S. Highway 14 bypass. A Biosecurity Level 3 (BSL3) laboratory is included for isolation of infectious agents.
Christopher-Hennings said the lab has seen an increase in "same day" testing of samples. The new lab allows for better worker safety, biosecurity and biocontainment. In the new building, staff and faculty will be able to perform additional diagnostics and research needed to help control animal health issues.
The building project is supported by commodity and farm organizations represented through South Dakota's Ag Unity (SDAC), the state veterinarian, the South Dakota Animal Industry Board, South Dakota Veterinary Medical Association (SDVMA), legislative leaders and the governor's office to develop a funding package for the $58 million project.
The next step in the overall project will focus on completing renovations on the existing Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences/SD ADRDL Building that was built in 1967 with an addition in 1993. The renovation will allow for improvements in waterproofing, foundation and insulation. Work to renovate this building for teaching and research will commence following move-in to the new ADRDL. Roof replacement has already begun on the older building sections.
For more information, contact Dr. Jane Christopher-Hennings at 605-688-5171, or email Jane.Hennings@sdstate.edu.