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WCVM receives $9.06 million through KIP

Veterinary diagnostics complex

The WCVM’s new veterinary diagnostics addition. KIP funding will allow the veterinary college to complete its veterinary diagnostic complex. Photo: Myrna MacDonald.

The Governments of Canada and Saskatchewan have allocated $9.06 million to complete renovations to the Western College of Veterinary Medicine’s diagnostic facilities at the University of Saskatchewan.

The new funding will be used to renovate the WCVM diagnostics laboratory — the final phase of a much larger infrastructure renewal plan that began in 2004. These renovations will ensure that Saskatchewan producers, veterinarians, and researchers have access to up-to-date animal diagnostics services meeting the highest biosafety standards.

Construction is expected to start this summer, with project completion slated for December 2010.

The federal and provincial governments’ support will help to ensure that the WCVM plays a leading role in animal and public health and food safety, not just in the four western provinces but on national and international levels, said University of Saskatchewan President Peter MacKinnon.

“These upgraded facilities and new technologies will enable the college to train, attract and retain high-quality veterinarians, researchers and graduate students who will in turn advance our unique U of S life sciences research and training cluster,” says MacKinnon.

The WCVM funding is part of a $118-million package of initiatives announced jointly on June 12 by the federal and provincial governments under the Knowledge Infrastructure Program (KIP) of the federal Economic Action Plan. The package is expected to create more than 7,000 jobs.

Besides the money earmarked for the WCVM construction, the U of S received $12.7 million for roof renewal, one of the most critical priorities on the university’s list of maintenance projects that had to be deferred for years due to lack of funding. The U of S will also contribute more than $1.12 million to these renovations.

In announcing the $57-million federal contribution, Agriculture and Agri-Food Minister Gerry Ritz said, “The government is making strategic investments to make sure Saskatchewan weathers the current economic uncertainty and comes out stronger than ever.”

Saskatchewan Advanced Education Minister Rob Norris, whose government is contributing more than $55 million, said, “Our government’s investment will enable our post-secondary institutions to build, maintain and renew the infrastructure Saskatchewan needs to be a national leader in post-secondary education and training, research and development, innovation, and the knowledge economy.”

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