Construction will begin this summer on three new Auburn University College of Agriculture facilities, including two that will benefit the school’s poultry science program.

The university is adding 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.”

Administration building

The Miller Center administration building that Auburn trustees approved is part of an initiative that began in 2009 to relocate the Poultry Research Farm from the site it has occupied for four decades 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, a conference room and pre-function area, a business center and offices for support personnel.

The estimated cost of the building 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.

Infectious disease research facility

Poultry sciences’ new infectious disease research facility, meanwhile, will significantly enhance Auburn poultry scientists’ capabilities for working with highly infectious disease agents and live birds once it is completed in summer 2018, said Don Conner, Department of Poultry Science professor and head.

“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 construction of the facility and of the $2.1 million Fish Biodiversity Lab that will be built at the School of Fisheries, Aquaculture and Aquatic Sciences’ E.W. Shell Fisheries Center on Alabama 147 three miles north of downtown Auburn.