The expansion project within the animal science complex includes an animal science building and a meat science facility with an arena, according to the university. Friday saw the official ground breaking for the $60m project.
Funding for the Hobart and Russell Creighton Hall of Animal Sciences and the Land O’Lakes Center for Experiential learning is said to come from several areas including the Indiana state legislature, private and corporate donations, stakeholder groups including the Indian State Poultry Association and Indiana Pork and the university.
“To get together in the single facility, and interact daily and exchange ideas will be possible with the new facility,” said Alan Mathew, professor and head of the animal science department at Purdue. “And we’ll be able to serve the stakeholders better.”
The facilities are set to be open for use in 2017, Mathew told FeedNavigator. “We’ve been working on the plans since last May and we’re at the point of handing detailed plans to the construction firm with construction starting in the spring,” he added.
The three-story animal science building is set to be about 90,000 square feet and include offices for faculty, staff, scientists from the US Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural (USDA) Research Services’ Livestock Behavior Unit and staff with Indiana animal regulatory agencies.
The experiential learning facility is about 22,000 square feet and is set to house research and teaching facilities for meat and protein studies. And the Purina Pavilion, which adjoins the building, can be used for extension events and for those centering on livestock evaluation, handling or care.
“It’s an exciting time for agriculture for sure, and being able to get in the game, in a bigger way, [leaves us] very, very excited,” said Mathew.
The new animal science building will include research labs, classrooms and offices and allow for more research to be done at the molecular level and for food safety, said Mathew. The new building also will offer the ability to do level 2 biosafety work.
Currently faculty members are spread between three buildings and the older facilities are not as conducive to some forms of research, he said.
The building’s laboratory space and the updated meat laboratory will allow for better control and give researchers the chance to improve work on the molecular level, said Mathew.
The molecular work is something that isn’t an option in the current facilities, he said. “We’ll be able to delve more into those types of research projects that have high relevance,” he added.
Research projects are also expected to include more work with DNA genotyping and looking at marker assisted selection, he said. Previously, that sort of analysis would have to be done offsite.
“The classrooms are designed to bring that new biotech into the classroom, so the same type of research we’ll be able to do in the lab will also be available to our students in the classroom,” he said. More students should have access to the new teaching labs, he added.