Governor Jindal, LSU administrators open new AgCenter animal, food sciences laboratories

Gov. Bobby Jindal speaks at the dedication ceremony of the LSU AgCenter’s Animal and Food Sciences Laboratories Building on Aug. 6. (Photo by Olivia McClure)
Gov. Bobby Jindal and LSU Vice President for Agriculture Bill Richardson speak after the ribbon cutting of the LSU AgCenter’s Animal and Food Sciences Laboratories Building on Aug. 6. (Photo by Olivia McClure)
State government and LSU officials cut the ribbon of the LSU AgCenter’s Animal and Food Sciences Laboratories Building on Aug. 6. (Photo by Olivia McClure)

News Release Distributed 08/06/14

BATON ROUGE, La. – The new home of LSU AgCenter food, animal and veterinary science faculty and students officially opened on Aug. 6. The state-of-the-art, $14 million Animal and Food Sciences Laboratories Building is a centralized research and teaching facility that provides the space and technologies needed to advance these disciplines.

These new laboratories will provide a unique opportunity to attract and retain research faculty producing cutting-edge technology that benefits the producer as well as the consumer,” said LSU Vice President for Agriculture Bill Richardson. “This facility will also enable us to offer more hands-on experiences for students, interns and our food incubator.”

The two-story, 49,000-square-foot building is located near the Dairy Store on LSU's Baton Rouge campus. Construction, which began in early 2012, was funded by a direct allocation from the Louisiana Legislature.

The AgCenter’s food, animal and veterinary science faculty were previously located in the Food Science Building, Francioni Hall and Dalrymple Building, where they contended with outdated, inadequate facilities. These three buildings will be used for faculty and graduate student offices and service labs.

Researchers now have access to spacious labs and $3 million of new equipment, according to Phil Elzer, AgCenter associate vice chancellor for animal sciences and natural resources. The building also has a classroom, offices, conference rooms and workspace for graduate students.

"This new laboratory building will put LSU at the forefront of animal and food science research and help LSU attract more students from across the nation,” said Gov. Bobby Jindal. “We invested more than $20 million into revitalizing this facility because we know how important it is to provide quality learning environments for students and to strengthen and expand agriculture research in our state.

“This new building is about more than just succeeding in the classroom, it's about preparing our students for great jobs,” he said. “Agriculture is a major segment of Louisiana's economy, and this new building will help equip our students with the skills they need to get great jobs in agriculture industries across our state. Indeed, the new laboratory building is an important asset to support existing and new agribusiness companies looking to expand their operations in Louisiana."

“We are grateful to the state legislature for making this building become a reality,” said LSU President F. King Alexander. “With state-of-the-art equipment and ample workspace, it will provide the foundation for nearly 800 students and faculty in animal and food sciences to expand their research and provide next-generation solutions for today’s problems.”

“This facility will allow researchers with the LSU AgCenter and LSU A&M to remain on the cutting edge of studies that will help to improve the health of the children and families of Louisiana,” said Gina E. Eubanks, AgCenter associate vice chancellor for nutrition and food science.

The new building features modern facilities that meet the departments’ unique needs, such as an oyster research lab and a sensory lab for food tasting.

Because many lab tasks, such as initial processing of samples and washing glassware, are common to all researchers, the new building features integrated spaces that can be used by everyone. Elzer said sharing equipment not only saves money and space, but it also fosters cooperation and communication.

Faculty, students and AgCenter Food Incubator tenants alike will benefit from the new building's demonstration kitchen and wide range of cooking equipment, Elzer said.

“We’re trying to link the entrepreneurship of the Food Incubator with our teaching mission and cross-link as many areas as possible,” Elzer said. “That kind of cooperation, along with the up-to-date technology, is really the biggest contribution of this new building to our teaching and research.”