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Ribbon-cutting planned at UAF

Submitted by Marmian Grimes
Phone: (907) 474-7902

12/01/06

The University of Alaska Fairbanks will celebrate the construction of the Biological Research and Diagnostic Facility, or BiRD, with a ribbon-cutting Dec. 6 from 4-5 p.m.

The BiRD building, located on Sheenjek Drive on UAF's West Ridge, is a $23-million, 42,000-square-foot animal care facility set to open in January. It will provide additional space for UAF's biomedical and behavioral science research. The building is designed for animal care and holding, as well as necropsy and surgical and veterinary diagnostic procedures.

"We are all very excited about moving into this new building. Our older facilities have served us well but research direction and current approaches to laboratory animal care have moved far beyond the support capacity that they offer." said John Blake, UAF's attending veterinarian. "BiRD is a state-of-the-art animal research facility that dramatically increases our capabilities and our capacity. This building, in combination with the future Biosciences Building and the State Virology Lab, provides our faculty with the necessary infrastructure to be truly competitive in biomedical and behavioral research."

Blake, UA President Mark Hamilton, UAF Chancellor Steve Jones, Regent Mary Hughes and Buck Sharpton, UAF's vice chancellor for research, are scheduled to speak at the event.

UAF's biological sciences research has been growing rapidly in recent years. In 2005, the university received a $3.8 million competitive grant from the National Institutes of Health to finish laboratory space in the building.

The State Virology Lab, a joint effort between the Alaska Division of Public Health and UAF, will be built north of the BiRD building on UAF's West Ridge. The location will provide opportunities for collaboration with state agencies. The BiRD building is part of a long-term plan to address UAF's space needs for life sciences teaching and research. The university has also requested $105 million in state funding for the new Biosciences Facility, or BIOS, to provide modern teaching and research labs for one of UAF's fastest-growing programs.

The UA Board of Regents will be meeting in Fairbanks Dec. 6-8 and has included the ribbon cutting as part of its agenda. Tours will be available following the ceremony.