By Hadley Barndollar, Staff Writer
A $2.5 million facility for the New Hampshire Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory (NHVDL) is being built on Main Street near the traffic circle by the greenhouses.
Serving as an attraction and destination for UNH pre-veterinary students, the new laboratory will provide diagnostic services to hundreds of veterinarians from New Hampshire and New England, according to the university’s press release on the building project. Construction is expected to be complete by August.
The NHVDL, which currently resides in Kendall Hall, is both co-managed and funded by the NH Department of Agriculture, Markets & Food and the UNH College of Life Sciences and Agriculture.
Doug Bencks, the university architect and director of campus planning, addressed the logistics of the building plan.
“The design is completed for a new 6,500 square foot, one-story building located near the intersection of Main Street and North Drive, adjacent to the MacFarlane Greenhouses,” Bencks said. “The building will house all of the offices and labs for the NHVDL and a necropsy lab that will serve the Wildlife program, as well.”
Bencks emphasized that the concept of public access was an underlying theme when creating the building plan and landscape.
“This location makes it much more accessible for the public and delivery of test specimens and animal remains,” Bencks said. “Construction will begin as soon as weather allows and be completed later this year.”
NHVDL’s Managing Director, Robert Gibson, said the project was part of an initiative to address several issues.
“The idea to relocate the NHVDL originated with the UNH facilities office and in conjunction with the College of Life Sciences and Agriculture as part of their initiative to vacate Kendall Hall and find better laboratory facilities for its current occupants,” Gibson said. “The then state senator, Jim Rausch, had heard of the plans to relocate the NHVDL and led an effort in the Legislature, which designated an additional sum of money to be applied towards the construction of the veterinary diagnostic lab.”
As far as what the new laboratory will contribute to the program, Gibson believes levels of efficiency will be increased.
“The new laboratory will significantly improve our ability to carry out all levels of the lab’s mission,” Gibson said. “Most state veterinary diagnostic laboratories are affiliated with universities. Having the NHVDL located on the UNH campus provides students excellent hands on opportunities to learn and apply their training in the biomedical sciences. This larger, state of the art facility will increase our ability to offer these experiences.”
Ultimately, Gibson finds pride in the creation of the new facility.
“Having the NHVDL on the UNH campus is a win-win situation for the university, the NH Department of Agriculture, and the numerous stakeholders across the region who rely on our diagnostic services,” Gibson said. “As a UNH alumnus myself, I find that working at the lab is a rewarding way to give back to my university and my state.”