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April 2004

Release Date: April 6, 2004

ASU's Product Safety Lab Groundbreaking Set April 13 at MIR Center

Congressman Charlie Stenholm will headline a group of government, agribusiness, philanthropic and university leaders participating in the groundbreaking Tuesday, April 13, of a new $1.6 million Food Safety and Product Development Lab adjacent to Angelo State University's Management, Instruction and Research (MIR) Center.

The ceremony will begin at 10 a.m. April 13, at the MIR Center. The new 8,100-square-foot ASU facility will provide state-of-the-art classroom and laboratory space for the university's Agriculture Department's meat science program.

Joining Stenholm on the program will be Pierce Miller, immediate past chairman of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Sheep Industry Improvement Center, which helped fund the facility. Vicki Ford of the San Angelo Health Foundation and a representative of the Dodge Jones Foundation, both of which made major contributions to the facility, will also join in the groundbreaking. San Angelo State Rep. Scott Campbell will participate as well.

Also joining in the groundbreaking on behalf of the Texas State University System will be Regent Pollyanna Stephens and Chancellor Lamar Urbanovsky. ASU President James Hindman and Dr. Mandy Carr, an ASU agricultural faculty member and research scientist, will make remarks prior to the turning of the ground.

The new building will have a classroom with auditorium-style seating and complete audiovisual facilities. The classroom will have a window into the fabrication room where students can observe meat being processed. Additionally, the facility will have a variety of processing rooms, a kitchen, specialized freezers, smoke house for seasoning meats, offices and a retail room for selling meats.

In addressing the significance of the new lab facility, Carr said, "Angelo State's Agriculture Department has committed its research efforts to many aspects of livestock and wildlife species. This effort will provide the foundation for a new emphasis in meat science to enhance the quality of muscle foods, develop new food or value-added products and improve food safety for all muscle foods."

Carr said the facility has been a goal of the ASU agriculture program for many years.

"It will provide undergraduate students with a learning environment comparable to other large universities in Texas," Carr said. "Here the students will gain experience in areas of assessing meat quality, food safety, meat judging and product development. All are necessary qualities for graduates entering the food industry. Graduate students will be provided these opportunities as well as research and teaching experience."

The new facility was designed by Gary Donaldson Architecture of San Angelo.