Will begin at 3 p.m. in Hopkinsville
MURRAY, Ky. (Sept. 15, 2014) — Gov. Steve Beshear is scheduled to be in Hopksinville at 3 p.m. on Thursday for the groundbreaking of the Breathitt Veterinary Center (BVC), named for former Gov. Ned Breathitt. Also expected to attend are Murray State University president Bob Davies, and Linda Breathitt, a member of the Kentucky Public Service Commission and a family member of former Gov. Breathitt. The facility is expected to open in the summer of 2016.
The current facility was built in the late 1960s and has become functionally outdated. The new BVC, which will be a $32.4 million, 53,000—s.f. facility on Murray State’s Hopkinsville campus, is a nationally preeminent animal disease diagnostic laboratory dedicated to protecting the assets of Kentucky’s equine, livestock and poultry industries by providing the fastest, most accurate and most dependable diagnostic service possible.
Lab space will be divided by scientific discipline — pathology, clinical chemistry, histology, microbiology, molecular diagnostics, serology, virology and toxicology. Additionally, the facility will be built to LEED Silver standards to ensure that its impact on the environment is minimized and its energy efficiency maximized.
The BVC receives approximately 23,000 laboratory submissions per year — a submission may contain multiple specimens and/or multiple animals on which numerous tests will be run — meaning the BVC performs in excess of 200,000 individual laboratory tests per year. The expanded laboratory space will accommodate additional personnel and equipment to meet the increasing demand for services.
Also, among its services is testing for diseases that are transmissible between animals and humans. More than 75 percent of new and emerging diseases impacting humans around the globe are of animal origin. BVC partners with public health agencies to provide surveillance and testing for these diseases.
“The current BVC laboratory facility is 40 years old and is obsolete in terms of modern laboratory design and function,” noted Dr. Wade Northington, who served as BVC’s director until his retirement and is the project director for construction of the new facility. “The new BVC facility is strategically located in the heart of Kentucky’s, and the region’s, livestock and poultry industries. Agriculture is, and will continue to be, Kentucky’s foremost economic engine and the BVC is committed to helping ensure that it remains strong and viable.”
He also noted that the facility would allow for increased public value by expanding services into areas such as water quality, milk quality, food safety and environmental safety. The increased laboratory space will provide for collaborative research with other universities to secure the safety of the state and nation’s food supply. Not only that, the new BVC will have state-of-the art classroom space and electronic teaching technology to support student undergraduate and graduate level research projects.
The veterinary center is certified by the Centers for Disease Control to test for “high impact” diseases of concern to the state, region and nation. This new facility will have a Biological Safety Level 3 laboratory suite for the safety of lab personnel and the community when working with specimens of high concern to animals and humans. The BVC is the only BSL3 animal diagnostic lab in Kentucky.