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NEWTOWN SQUARE, PA-Gov. Ed Rendell has awarded $13.5 million for expansion of New Bolton Center, the veterinary complex where Barbaro, the Kentucky Derby winner that broke its leg during the Preakness, is undergoing rehabilitation. This is the first time public money has been used to improve the 700-acre facility at 382 W. Street Rd., which is part of the University of Pennsylvania’s school of veterinary medicine.

Approximately $12 million of the funding will be used for construction of a new colic barn, a spokeswoman at the center tells GlobeSt.com. She says it is “an isolation and acute gastrointestinal care facility that we have needed for a long time.” The size and specifications have not yet been determined.

The additional $1.5 million will be used to create the state’s first digester, which will allow New Bolton to handle a higher level of animal testing and provide a safe means of disposing of infectious waste. The two additions represent the center’s first major expansion since it was founded in 1964.

More than 6,000 large animals, including horses, cows, sheep, and even tigers, lions and bears, are treated at the center each year. In addition, New Bolton represents a third of the Pennsylvania Animal Diagnostic Laboratory System that provides in-house and field diagnostic services to animals throughout the state.

The system, operated jointly by the state Department of Agriculture, Penn State University and the University of Pennsylvania, focuses on identifying and preventing animal diseases. It also provides pathology, toxicology, microbiology and poultry diagnostic services and is currently working with poultry farmers to monitor for avian flu.

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