Animal facility goes underground

The University of Iowa has gotten the green light to build a subterranean vivarium that will house experimental animals to be used in biomedical research and offer an extra measure of protection from animal rights extremists. The Iowa Board of Regents linkurl:approved;http://www2.state.ia.us/regents/Meetings/DocketMemos/09Memos/June/0609_ITEM12.pdf $11.2 million for the roughly 35,000 square foot facility -- which will lie under a grassy courtyard bordered by three research buildings -- last we

By | June 17, 2009

The University of Iowa has gotten the green light to build a subterranean vivarium that will house experimental animals to be used in biomedical research and offer an extra measure of protection from animal rights extremists. The Iowa Board of Regents linkurl:approved;http://www2.state.ia.us/regents/Meetings/DocketMemos/09Memos/June/0609_ITEM12.pdf $11.2 million for the roughly 35,000 square foot facility -- which will lie under a grassy courtyard bordered by three research buildings -- last week. "Security is a huge issue with regard to biomedical research," the university's vice president for research, Jordan Cohen, told the regents, according to the linkurl:__Des Moines Register__.;http://www.desmoinesregister.com/article/20090611/NEWS/90611013
Image: By Aaron Logan
Paul Cooper, director of the university's Office of Animal Resources, told __The Scientist__ that while protecting the facility against attacks from animal rights groups wasn't the primary impetus for putting the lab underground, its underground location "is an extra measure of security." In 2004, animal rights activists broke into animal research laboratories on the University of Iowa campus, destroying computers and laboratory equipment and stealing experimental animals. Damages sustained during the attack, for which the Animal Liberation Front claimed responsibility, cost the university about $425,000. Cooper noted that the vivarium will house mainly mice but that other species, such as sheep, pigs, rabbits, and non-human primates, will also reside there. He added that its centralized location will aid biomedical researchers. "It's something that a large research institution would prefer," said Cooper, who is also the university's attending veterinarian, "instead of having a facility here and a facility there." The university decided to add the underground vivarium to a $122.5 million plan to build the Iowa Institute for Biomedical Discovery (IIBD) on the campus, which the board approved last year. The shell space for the animal housing facility will be completed before the IIBD is fully constructed to allow builders access to the courtyard. Construction crews have not yet broken ground on either the IIBD or the vivarium, but Cooper said that both construction projects are slated to begin within the next six to twelve months. The IIBD will likely be completed by 2013 and the vivarium shell will be outfitted with animal housing facilities, cage washing facilities, an aseptic surgery space, and other features at some later date.
**__Related stories:__***linkurl:Primate lab slapped by USDA;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/55688/
[12th May 2009]*linkurl:Animal rights activists charged;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/55651/
[21st April 2009]

Comments

Avatar of: anonymous poster

anonymous poster

Posts: 1

June 17, 2009

Isn't this a bit risky, given the recent problems with flooding on the Iowa campus?
Avatar of: anonymous poster

anonymous poster

Posts: 13

June 17, 2009

I couldn't have said it better. 100 and 500 year flood plains mean little but the University of Iowa adminstration which changes on a regular basis decided to build the "Arts Campus" (Hancher Aud. Museums, etc.)and other buildings (Laser Facility, student housing, Student Union etc.) in flood-compromised areas during the past 40 years. I feel sorry for the taxpayers who hard-earned work fund such short-sightedness.
Avatar of: Roberta Friedman

Roberta Friedman

Posts: 4

June 17, 2009

Stanford did this two decades ago.
Avatar of: Stephen Hobday

Stephen Hobday

Posts: 1

June 18, 2009

Why not get the North Koreans to build it?
Avatar of: anonymous poster

anonymous poster

Posts: 1

September 24, 2009

We will ALL be in serious trouble if the flood level gets to the proposed site of the new facility!

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