After four decades of service to animal and public health in Texas, one of the nation’s busiest veterinary diagnostic laboratories soon will start building a facility designed for the 21st century.
The Texas A&M Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory (TVMDL) announced today that the 83rd Texas Legislature has approved an increase of $3 million per year in its budget to help construct a $50 million, state-of-the-art facility in College Station that will sustain the state agency for the next several decades.
Texas A&M System Chancellor John Sharp said, “TVMDL protects our state’s animal agriculture as well as public health from outbreaks of contagious diseases. I’m excited we will have a state diagnostic lab that matches the demands of that mission. As a result, the A&M System and TVMDL will continue attracting the most highly sought-after experts in agriculture, animal and public health science and bio-security.”
Vice Chancellor and Dean for Agriculture and Life Sciences Mark A. Hussey said, “When the American Association of Veterinary Laboratory Diagnosticians renewed TVMDL’s accreditation last year, its auditors told us we need a new facility in College Station. Our state lab must maintain its accreditation to serve animal agriculture in Texas as well as our animal racing industries. The lab also plays a vital role in protecting the public from contagious diseases. Our legislators understand the importance of TVMDL’s mission to animal and public health. We are grateful for their support.”
Planning for the new TVMDL facility will begin in July. Construction should be completed within three years. The exact site has yet to be chosen, yet TVMDL leadership hopes to keep the lab in the One Health Plus Biocorridor along Raymond Stotzer Parkway and Harvey Mitchell Parkway on the Texas A&M University campus. The facility will replace the current College Station laboratory, which opened in 1969 and was expanded three times since then.
TVMDL ranks among the busiest labs of its kind in the United States, averaging more than 200,000 cases annually.
“The facility has served us well, but veterinary diagnostics have changed dramatically since 1969, and so have the biosafety standards that protect our employees and the public from the pathogens that come through the lab, said TVMDL Director Tammy Beckham. “We clearly need to replace the current College Station lab with a state-of-the-art facility.”
The new facility will ensure TVMDL:
- Can continue to support the state’s livestock, companion animal, and public health industries.
- Will remain on the cutting edge of veterinary diagnostics and can advance diagnostic research.
- Is equipped with the latest technology to enhance diagnostic capabilities for animal owners and veterinarians throughout Texas.
- Has the flexibility to grow and change with emerging technologies.
- Will have adequate space for education and collaboration, allowing the lab to help train future generations of veterinary diagnosticians.
Completing the construction project will require significant effort from TVMDL’s professional staff. The agency has chosen Deputy Director Roger Parker to manage the project. Director Beckham said. “Dr. Parker’s extensive knowledge of veterinary diagnostics and of the lab’s daily operations, combined with his leadership and organizational skills, make him the ideal choice for this important challenge.”