The South Dakota Animal Disease Research and Diagnostic Laboratory (ADRDL) held a ribbon cutting ceremony Sept. 6 on the South Dakota State University campus to celebrate the upcoming official opening of the new facility in November.
“Today’s ribbon cutting represents a renewed commitment to the ongoing mission of this lab," said Larry Rhoden, South Dakota lieutenant governor. “That commitment ensures that the scientists here who serve the people of South Dakota and the region have the tools they need to more safely identify diseases and conduct important research.”
The $58.6 million expansion and renovation will ensure the facility meets federal standards and provides more space to accommodate new technologies. The updated facility features a Biosafety Level 3 space to contain dangerous pathogens, offers greater security against bioterrorism as well as upgraded air, water and electrical systems. A drive-up window for dropping off samples was also added to provide clients with easy access to the lab and to enhance biosecurity.
“These are exciting times as we recognize the completion of a goal that we’ve had for a long time to modernize our veterinary and diagnostic research facility,” South Dakota State Veterinarian Dustin Oedekoven said.
Performing approximately 500,000 tests per year, the new 80,000-square-foot lab is made up of sections for bacteriology, clinical pathology and parasitology, DNA sequencing and bioinformatics, serology, food safety microbiology, virology, histopathology, molecular diagnostics, extension and outreach, specialized research testing and research.
Following the move into the new ADRDL, the existing Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences building will be renovated for teaching and research purposes.
“This incredible new facility will provide hands-on training for students,” said Barry H. Dunn, president of South Dakota State University. “The experience they gain will serve them well in attaining careers in veterinary medicine, medical technology, human medicine and other science, technology, engineering and mathematical careers.”
Originally built in 1967, upgraded in 1993 and newly renovated and expanded in 2019, the ADRDL has provided the state of South Dakota with critical research and diagnostic support to protect the citizens and the livestock industry in the state and region from disease outbreaks for more than five decades.
“The work that’s conducted here at the lab can be briefly summarized as protecting animal and public health and food safety. Because of the economic impact of our animal agriculture industry as well as the critical importance of public health and food safety, the work that happens here at the lab impacts all of us either indirectly or directly,” Oedekoven said.
“This achievement of increased efficiency and service has been made possible through the continued support and cooperation of many groups,” said John Killefer, South Dakota Corn Endowed Dean of the College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences at South Dakota State University. “This was really a team effort.”
Supporters of the project include but are not limited to South Dakota’s Ag Unity, the South Dakota Association of Cooperatives, the State veterinarian, the South Dakota Animal Industry Board, the South Dakota Veterinary Medical Association, members of South Dakota’s commodity groups, legislative leaders and the governor’s office.
“As we work to implement policies that are friendly toward producers and help support our state’s top industry, we’re proud to partner with labs like this as we look to lead the nation in innovative care and groundbreaking research,” said Rhoden.
A live video of the event can be found on the SDSU College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences Facebook page by searching @SDStateCAFES.