Feds, Sask. fund vet college expansions

The Western College of Veterinary Medicine has picked up over $9 million in federal and provincial funds to complete the renos and expansion of its diagnostic laboratory.

The WCVM, based in Saskatoon at the University of Saskatchewan, will get $9.06 million for the project as part of a $21.8 million joint pledge for infrastructure work at the U of S.

The federal Western Economic Diversification agency in April pledged over $2.7 million for the diagnostic lab project plus renovations at the college’s large-animal clinic.

The diagnostic lab project, scheduled for completion in December 2010, is the final phase of a “much larger” infrastructure renewal plan underway since 2004, the U of S said in a release Friday.

The diagnostics lab serves the livestock industry in Saskatchewan and frequently provides services for the other western provinces, the federal government noted in April, adding that one of the recent cases of avian influenza in Canada was diagnosed in the WCVM lab.

“This renovation will ensure that Saskatchewan producers, veterinarians, and researchers have access to up-to-date animal diagnostic services meeting the highest biosafety standards,” the university wrote Friday.

The two-storey diagnostics addition and basement are expected to add about 3,000 square metres of space to the college’s existing diagnostic facilities.

The biosecure centre is expected to be a major western Canadian hub for veterinary diagnostics services, animal health research and specialized training in diagnostic pathology, virology, bacteriology, immunology and various biomedical sciences.

From the $21.8 million announced Friday, the U of S will also get $12.7 million for roof renewal, which the U of S described as “one of the most critical priorities on the university’s list of maintenance projects that have had to be deferred for years due to lack of funding.” The U of S itself is to kick in over $1.12 million.

“Roof leaks and failures can disrupt, impair or even destroy research and training programs,” the university noted Friday. “New roofing with higher insulation values will result in energy savings and a reduction in greenhouse emissions through reduced heat loss and cooling requirements.”

The U of S projects are part of a $118 million package of initiatives announced jointly Friday by the federal and provincial governments via the federal Knowledge Infrastructure Program (KIP).

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