If you’ve been on Linden Drive in the vicinity of the Dairy Cattle Center, it’s impossible to miss the construction going on at the site of the college’s new meat science facility.
The project is moving along at pace, and the facility—which currently goes by the working name Meat Science and Animal Biologics Discovery facility—is anticipated to be ready for occupancy in November 2018 and to begin hosting meat science classes in spring semester 2019.
The Department of Animal Sciences has already started to plan for the transition to the new space, considering the expanded functions that will be available in the modern facility.
The transition will be led by Dan Schaefer, professor and recent former chair of animal sciences, who has been named director of the facility, effective Jan. 1, 2018. Schaefer has been deeply involved in the development of the vision for the facility, fundraising, and working with corporate partners to make sure the building meets the needs of the meat industry.
“Dan is ideally positioned to get the new facility off the ground and realize the vision we have for it,” says Dean Kate VandenBosch.
The new $45.8M facility, located at 1933 Observatory Drive, will support work in three main areas: meat science, the discovery of animal biologics and meat safety. The vision for the facility—and the overall meat science program—has been guided over the years by valuable input from industry stakeholders via a Meat Science Advisory Committee, established in 2008.
“One member [of the committee] asked the department to come up with ways to add value to meat animals, beyond their meat protein value,” says Schaefer. “The concept that blossomed from that request is now known as animal biologics. It is the idea that biological molecules, made solely by an animal, can be extracted and re-purposed for the benefit of humans and animals.”
The building will house a bio-safety level 2 lab for meat safety research, a unique space where food pathogens can be incorporated into meat products using realistic manufacturing processes and then intervention strategies can be tested. It will also have instructional classrooms as well as a large multi-user research space for bench-top investigations by grad students, postdocs and visiting scientists.
Bucky’s Butchery will continue with an expanded retail space and a new name: Bray’s Meats, named in honor of Robert W. Bray, original founder of the meat science and muscle biology program.
A lot of work went into the concept, design and development of the building, with many committed individuals sharing their time and expertise to help bring the project to fruition.
“I want to thank everybody—inside and outside of CALS—that helped us get to this point,” says VandenBosch.
The new facility replaces the outdated Meat Science and Muscle Biology Lab, located at 1805 Linden Drive, which was built in 1931 and had additions added in 1959 and 1969.