The Texas A&M Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory (TVMDL) celebrated the grand opening of the new 93,000- square-foot College Station laboratory and agency headquarters with a ribbon cutting ceremony on Wednesday (April 19).
In 1967, the Texas Legislature created TVMDL and for 50 years the agency has helped protect animal and human health through diagnostics by working hand in hand with veterinarians and animal owners to identify animal disease agents and collaborate on treatment and prevention techniques. The new College Station laboratory is one of the largest of its kind in the country and will allow the agency to continue to provide the highest quality diagnostic testing available.
In May 2013, the Texas Legislature appropriated $53 million to fund the construction of the facility at College Station. With architectural firm Perkins+Will and professionals from Vaughn Construction, TVMDL broke ground on the lab in late 2014.
“While our original facility supported our agency’s efforts for 50 years, many advancements in biosafety, biosecurity, technology, and science, as well as operational growth, necessitated the new facility,” said Bruce L. Akey TVMDL director.
The new facility includes open plan, integrated laboratory space to allow improved collaborations across diagnostic disciplines, contains a full-service necropsy suite, and boasts a series of Biosafety Level 3 laboratories.
Texas A&M Regent Charles W. Schwartz spoke at the grand opening ceremony, representing the Texas A&M University System Board of Regents. Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp, and Vice Chancellor and Dean for Agriculture and Life Sciences Dr. Mark Hussey also spoked during the program. TVMDL clients, livestock and poultry industry representatives, and current and former staff gathered for the ribbon cutting and laboratory tours.
“It’s always been an eye-opening experience to work with TVMDL,” said Sharp. “Their real-world perspective and tangible impact on our economy are the types of service-oriented efforts that make the Texas A&M System unique. I’m pleased to showcase this facility and highlight the important work done here every day.”
As TVMDL formally opens the College Station facility, it can also celebrate its Golden Anniversary. This state-of-the art facility will serve as the foundation for the agency’s next 50 years.
“While animal and public health and food safety remain the core of our mission, just as it was 50 years ago, this agency will lead the way into the future of veterinary diagnostics,” said Akey.
The agency conducts over 800,000 tests annually on almost every animal species from all parts of the world, routinely identifying both common and rare disease agents. In this new facility, TVMDL will continue to serve as the backbone of an animal disease surveillance system that protects our state, our country, and the world. The College Station laboratory employs approximately 100 staff and serves as one four facilities that comprise TVMDL.
Visit tvmdl.tamu.edu for information about the agency.