Kentucky Livestock Disease Diagnostic Center Expansion in Progress

A state funded $28.5 million renovation and expansion project at the University of Kentucky's Livestock Disease Diagnostic Center (LDDC) in Lexington began in April 2009 with a targeted completion date of early 2011.

The renovation project will more than double the current facility, with the resultant structure encompassing 65,531 square feet. The current LDDC, which opened its doors in 1970, is only 37,667 square feet. The bulk of the renovation will begin in November 2009.

Because of the Bluegrass state's signature horse industry, the LDDC currently has the largest equine necropsy caseload in the world, and it has the smallest necropsy room in the United States, making daily operations difficult.

Part of the renovation project includes increasing the necropsy lab from 1,080 square feet to 2,725 square feet. The renovation for the lab began in April and will be complete in February 2010.

The vision for the LDDC renovation states for the facility to be "one of the premiere veterinary diagnostic laboratories in the United States providing the very best testing services in support of the practicing veterinary profession, Kentucky animal agriculture, the signature equine industries, companion animals, and public health."

Construction of a new administrative and education wing will begin soon. Faculty and staff will move into this new wing sometime in April 2010.

Other areas scheduled to expand are the serology and histology laboratories. The serology lab will be expanded from 1,041 square feet to 2,075 square feet, and the histology lab will go from 1,128 square feet to 1,700 square feet. The clinical/pathology area and molecular biology area also will be renovated.

The expansion and renovation will help laboratory faculty and staff to better manage an ever-increasing caseload and also to regain accreditation by the American Association of Veterinary Laboratory Diagnosticians. The LDDC underwent an accreditation visit in May 2009. Full accreditation will allow the LDDC to pursue becoming a member of the USDA National Animal Health Laboratory Network (NAHLN).--Jenny Blandford

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