April 14, 2017
An architectural rendering of the Fish Biodiversity Lab at Auburn University, set to begin construction this summer.
Construction will begin this summer on three new College of Agriculture facilities the Auburn University Board of Trustees signed off on at its April 7 meeting in Auburn.
The project list includes an 8,150-square-foot administration building at the Charles C. Miller Jr. Poultry Research and Education Center, as well as a 5,000-square-foot Poultry Infectious Disease Biocontainment Research Facility and a 4,550-square-foot Fish Biodiversity Lab. All three facilities will be located on the north Auburn campus.
College of Agriculture Dean Paul Patterson said he appreciates the board’s unanimous support for the construction projects.
“Auburn’s poultry science and fisheries, aquaculture and aquatic sciences programs are already recognized nationally and internationally for excellence in research and education,” Patterson said. “These new facilities approved by the board will advance the two programs’ standing as global leaders and at the same time strengthen our research and teaching infrastructure here at Auburn.”
The Miller Center administration building is part of an initiative that began in 2009 to relocate the Poultry Research Farm from its four decades old home on the south side of campus to Auburn Lakes Road in north Auburn. The administration building, scheduled for completion in spring 2018, will feature a multipurpose meeting room, conference room and pre-function area, business center and support personnel offices.
The building’s estimated cost is $2.95 million, to be financed by gifts and College of Agriculture funds.
“This administrative building will serve as the gateway to the research farm and also a site for the poultry science department’s academic and extension activities,” Patterson said.
Once it’s completed in summer 2018, poultry sciences’ new infectious disease research facility will enhance Auburn poultry scientists’ capabilities for working with highly infectious disease agents and live birds, said Poultry Science Department Head Don Conner.
“Beyond providing the required biologically safe environment and ensuring that Auburn meets and exceeds state and federal compliance standards, this facility is essential for recruiting and retaining faculty and graduate students, not only in the College of Agriculture but also in the College of Veterinary Medicine,” Conner said. “Most important, it will allow us to provide the new knowledge and technology to address diseases that threaten the economic performance of Alabama’s poultry industry.”
The $2.7 million disease lab will be located on Auburn Lakes Road, about a mile south of the Miller Center. University General Fund dollars will finance constructing the facility and the $2.1 million Fish Biodiversity Lab at the School of Fisheries, Aquaculture and Aquatic Sciences’ E.W. Shell Fisheries Center on state Route 147. The facility is estimated for completion in summer 2018.
The biodiversity lab, which works closely with federal and state agencies to conserve nongame freshwater fish species, has been housed in a decades-old Woodfield Drive building the university intends to raze to make way for a new performing arts center.
Much of the Fish Biodiversity Lab’s work focuses on the impact human activities, such as road and bridge construction, have on nongame fishes in streams and rivers. A key area of that research is bioacoustics—investigations of sounds that fishes and other vertebrates produce and hear.
The new facility will feature state-of-the-art wet labs, a soundproof room for bioacoustics research, a hormone collection and acoustic playback lab, a specimens-processing and -examination lab and an ichthyology teaching lab complete with Auburn University’s substantial teaching collection of fishes. Other elements include office space and a boat storage facility.