Mitch Emmons, 334/ 844-5964


AUBURN -- Approval by Auburn University's Board of Trustees to proceed with construction of new kennel facilities at Anniston moves AU's K-9 detection program closer to becoming a national leader in school violence intervention.

The $897,000 project, which ultimately will be self-funded through contracts and grants, will be located on the property formerly occupied by the Army's Fort McClellan.

The project consists of renovation of existing kennels and construction of a new 90- run kennel facility. All will meet U.S. Department of Agriculture standards and will become the home base for AU's Institute for Biological Detection Systems' detection dog program.

"This is the start of the only university program of its type in the country," said Tim Moore, IBDS director.

The facility will enable IBDS to base its K-9 detection program at Fort McClellan and to conduct a comprehensive training program for federal and local law enforcement personnel in the use of detection dogs.

"The primary focus of this program is on school violence mediation," Moore said. "School violence is a growing national concern, and most communities simply do not have the resources to initiate effective intervention programs."

The IBDS K-9 training program will train both dogs and their law enforcement handlers to detect explosives, drugs and firearms, Moore said. Future plans include detection training in the areas of hazardous cargo and chemical weapons.

Moore said the Fort McClellan facility also will house IBDS' Australian Customs Laborador Retriever breeding program.

IBDS has received more than $10 million in competitive contracts and grants since its establishment in 1989. The institute also conducts research in biosensor development, and is slated to provide K-9 detection for the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City.

Auburn acquired the Ft. McClellan property through a lease agreement with the Fort McClellan Redevelopment Joint Powers Authority, a governmental group formed to oversee the property and facilities when the military base was closed by the government.

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