Sep 092009
 
Authors: Kirsten Silveira

After being completed five months before its target date, the Medical Diagnostic Center of the CSU Veterinary Teaching Hospital will hold its ribbon-cutting ceremony Friday.

The $44 million center is one of three CSU capital construction projects to be built almost entirely with state allocated funds. An additional $3 million was added to the pot by the university and the VTH with the idea of expanding the research and diagnostic capabilities.

Since early August, personnel have been moving in to the new state-of-the-art building, which houses several diagnostic laboratories focusing specifically on the following areas:

Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory

CSU Extension Veterinarian

Clinical Pathology Laboratory, and

Animal Population Health Institute.

Director of Facilities Management Brian Chase said the center is an asset for the entire state of Colorado by serving as the main diagnostic facility for the veterinary and agricultural communities.

“It’s the main facility because of the quality of the people who work there and their reputation for analyzing and diagnosing diseases,” Chase said.

Like all the capital construction buildings in the works, the MDC was built to Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design gold standards, a certification given only to buildings that maximize energy efficient amenities.

The large glass atrium built to maximize natural light is one of the largest energy conservation features that Chase said he is confident will earn the building a high enough score to be named LEED gold.

Barbara Powers, director of the diagnostic laboratory, said this building is something her predecessors had lobbied for and a project she’s been working toward since she became director in 1996.

“When I finally heard (the building) had been funded I was amazed and thrilled,” Powers said.

The new building has one feature that sets it apart from many laboratories of its kind; the 2,000 square-foot bio-safety level 3 zone is designed with safety precautions to keep harmful pathogens from escaping the area.

Personnel of the laboratory are specially trained to handle the pathogens and the laboratory is inspected by both the United States Department of Agriculture and the Center for Disease Control.

Powers said that because the previous facility was too small to keep up with the advancements in diagnostic medicine and it was “hindering” their ability to expand services and meet the demands of the state and nation.

“I see this lab being a huge asset to not only the local veterinary community, but to the entire state, and even the nation,” Powers said.

Staff writer Kirsten Silveira can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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