COLLEGE STATION, Texas – Texas A&M Univ. announced plans to break ground on a new Biological Safety Level-II research facility on Oct. 25 at the college’s poultry research center.

The building is expected to be 4,800 sq.-ft. and cost approximately $900,000. It is scheduled to be completed by spring 2019.

Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Service will hold research and education activities. The teaching faculty of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Texas A&M will be housed in the new building.

“Having this type of research facility will allow Texas A&M AgriLife to help develop new technologies to further protect the state’s multibillion-dollar poultry industry and meet future health challenges,” said Dr. Patrick Stover, vice chancellor for agriculture and life sciences at Texas A&M and director of AgriLife Research.

According Texas A&M, the poultry industry contributes more than $3 billion to the Texas economy with broiler production accounting for more than $2 billion in cash receipts. Researchers will look to identify antibiotic and diet alternatives as part of the research plan.

“This will be a unique facility for Texas, Texas A&M University and Texas A&M AgriLife,” said Dr. David Caldwell, department head for poultry science at Texas A&M. “Having a research facility with these capabilities will allow us to identify new control strategies for common intestinal pathogens, assist animal health companies with developing efficacious vaccines and provide insight into effective, non-antibiotic means of disease control for the commercial industry.”

Tyson Foods and Merck Animal Health contributed donations to help fund the new research facility that aims to solve health-related challenges in the poultry industry.

“We’re proud to support this new research facility and the innovative work by Texas A&M that benefits the poultry industry as a whole,” said Chip Miller, vice president, live operations, Tyson Foods. “The center is an extension of our efforts to advance animal welfare and we look forward to seeing the positive results of its research.”