By: SDSU College of Ag & Bio Media

Groundbreaking ceremonies for the new South Dakota Animal Disease Research and Diagnostic Laboratory (ADRDL) in Brookings will be held at 4:30 p.m. Aug. 31.

Officials say the $58 million facility will both serve as the front line of defense in protecting South Dakota’s $7.3 billion livestock industry against diseases and provide important diagnostic information for the state’s wildlife and companion animals.

Final construction plans are in progress, with some ground work expected to start this fall, followed by the majority of the building beginning in the spring of 2018. The proposed completion date is in 2020.

The groundbreaking ceremony will take place on the south lawn of the South Dakota State University Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences/SD ADRDL Building. The new facility will include an attached addition to the north of the current building along with renovation on the existing building on the SDSU campus.

“I’m very excited to see this project moving forward,” South Dakota State Veterinarian Dustin Oedekoven said. “The expansion and renovation of the Animal Disease Research and Diagnostic Laboratory is critical to animal health, public health, and food safety.

“This facility will protect the dedicated and talented people who work in the laboratory and will give them the tools to do the best work possible,” Oedekoven added. “Expert veterinary laboratory diagnostic and research capacity is important for the timely identification of emerging and zoonotic diseases, and for the continuity of business when animal health events occur.”

Dr. Jane Christopher-Hennings, the head of the SDSU Department of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences and director of the South Dakota ADRDL, said the lab is important to the people of South Dakota and the country.

“The ADRDL is a key component in protecting both human and animal health in South Dakota,” she said. “The lab promotes human health in dealing with food safety issues and zoonotic diseases, and animal health by detecting diseases and finding methods to control them.”

Officials say the renovation of the building is important for continuing operations since many of the mechanical systems of the current building need to be replaced or updated to current standards (e.g., plumbing, HVAC, electrical).

A drive-up window for dropping off samples will provide easy access to the lab, which is located off of Medary Avenue in close proximity to the U.S. Highway 14 bypass. A small Biosecurity Level 3 (BSL3) laboratory will be included for isolation of infectious agents.

Christopher-Hennings said the current lab has seen an increase in “same-day” testing of samples. The new lab allows for better worker safety, biosecurity and biocontainment. In the new building, staff and faculty will be able to perform additional diagnostics and research needed to help control animal health issues.

The plan to upgrade and expand the ADRDL is supported by commodity and farm organizations represented through South Dakota’s Ag Unity, the state veterinarian, the South Dakota Animal Industry Board, South Dakota Veterinary Medical Association, legislative leaders and the governor’s office to develop a funding package for the $58 million project. The state Legislature approved the project in 2017.

The current ADRDL was built in 1967 with an addition in 1993.

For more information, contact Christopher-Hennings at 688-5171, or email

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