State veterinarian Michael R. Marshall has finally persuaded the Utah Legislature to build a laboratory to diagnose human illnesses that might originate with animals.

Lawmakers earmarked $2.63 million during last week's special session to begin construction of the $5 million facility. Construction will proceed in two stages and should be open by 1993, he said.The new lab replaces an antiquated facility, built in the early 1900s, that falls short of meeting modern medical expectations, he said.

The laboratory will give vets the opportunity to investigate so-called "zoonotic diseases," including tuberculosis, that originate in animals before being spread to humans.

The location of the original laboratory, in the heart of Logan's Utah State University, was not conducive to performing animal autopsies and blood tests on possibly domestic farm animals possibly carrying communicable diseases.

The new laboratory will be located at a perimeter campus site, he said.