Federal and state officials today dedicated the new research facility at the National Centers for Animal Health in Ames. The five members of the Iowa congressional delegation who help secure the funding for the project were on hand, including Republican Congressman Tom Latham of Ames.
Latham says this is the "premiere animal disease facility in the world." Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley, a Republican, said the dedication is a culmination of a lot of work. Grassley says, "A project like this shows to the cynical American people that there is a great deal of cooperation in Washington, D.C." Iowa
Senator Tom Harkin, a Democrat, says the need for the center is obvious. Harkin says, "Shortly before ground was broken for the facility in January of 2004, there was an occurrence of Mad Cow disease in Washington State. Since then we’ve had outbreaks of avian flu around the world." He says the facility will be the site that does tests in the U.S. to confirm Mad Cow disease and avian flu. Iowa Congressmen Leonard Boswell and Steve King were also on hand, as was U.S. Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns. (Photo at right)
"It truly is a state of the art facility, and in fact is the largest facility of its kind anywhere in the world," Johanns says. The project is the second of four major construction projects to modernize the National Center for Animal Health. Johanns says the whole project cost 460-million dollars and will include one-million gross feet of research space.
Johanns says "cutting edge" does not do the facility justice, as he says it’s the "gold standard" among research facilities, and the best in the world. The facility consolidates the National Animal Disease Center, and the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service’s lab and veterinary testing services units into one building. There are two more facilities under construction in the 461-billion dollar overall project. All construction is expected to be completed by 2009.