HOPKINSVILLE, Ky. (Sept. 18, 2014) – Gov. Steve Beshear today joined university officials, along with state and local leaders, to celebrate the groundbreaking of Murray State University’s veterinary diagnostic laboratory in Christian County.
The $32 million facility will bring the already nationally pre-eminent animal disease diagnostic laboratory into the 21st century.
“Upgrade of the diagnostic facilities for the Murray State Breathitt Veterinary Center has long been a top priority for Kentucky agriculture,” said Beshear. “As such, it has been a top priority of mine, not only for agriculture, but also the health and welfare of the general population. I am pleased the 2014 General Assembly saw fit to maintain funding from my proposed budget for this crucial need to Kentucky, the region and the nation.”
The Breathitt Veterinary Center (BVC), scheduled to open in 2016, will be a 53,000-square-foot facility on MSU’s Hopkinsville Regional Campus. A study, supported by the Kentucky Agricultural Development Fund, determined that the construction of a new facility would be more efficient and less costly than attempting to renovate the existing facility, which is also located on MSU’s campus in Hopkinsville.
Functional laboratory space in the new facility will double, while keeping administrative and educational space the same.
“I’m happy to see us break ground on what was one of agriculture’s top priorities during this year’s legislative session,” said Rep. Tom McKee, of Cynthiana, who is chair of the House Agriculture and Small Business Committee. “This center will give livestock farmers in western Kentucky better access to cutting-edge technology and testing, which in turn will make it easier to keep our food supply safe and nutritious for us all. Once complete, the Breathitt Veterinary Center will be a perfect complement to its counterpart at the University of Kentucky.”
“The Breathitt Veterinary Center will be a tremendous resource for Kentucky agriculture,” said Sen. Paul Hornback, of Shelbyville, who is chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee. “I am very pleased that it is finally becoming a reality.”
The BVC currently performs more than 200,000 laboratory tests per year. While meeting increased diagnostic demand, the increased space will also allow the facility to increase public services into areas like food and environmental safety, as well as water quality.
The new facility will also house a Biological Safety Level 3 laboratory suite for working with bacteria, parasites or viruses that are of high concern to animals and humans. This positions Kentucky as a key partner with public health agencies to provide surveillance and testing for high impact animal diseases, such as avian flu or foot-and-mouth disease, which can be detrimental to both human and animal populations.
The BVC is the only BSL-3 animal diagnostic lab in the Commonwealth.
“I am pleased that the funding for the construction of the Breathitt Diagnostic Lab was included in the Governor’s proposed budget and the legislature kept it in the final budget,” said Roger Thomas, executive director of the Governor’s Office of Agricultural Policy. “This is and will continue to be a vital resource for our livestock industry, which is very important to Kentucky agriculture and our overall economy.”
For more information about the Breathitt Veterinary Center, visit https://breathitt.murraystate.edu. To follow the construction of the new facility, “Like” them at http://Facebook.com/Breathitt.Veterinary.Center.