BioterrorismDHS awards contract for utility plant at the Kansas biolab

Published 27 February 2013

DHS has awarded a $40 million contract to build a utility plant at a $1.15 billion animal research lab in Kansas. The 87,000 square foot facility will replace an animal research lab on Plum Island in New York and will be used to research deadly animal diseases that affect livestock.

DHS has awarded a $40 million contract  to build a utility plant at a $1.15 billion animal research lab in Kansas. The 87,000 square foot facility will replace an animal research lab on Plum Island in New York and will be used to research deadly animal diseases that affect livestock.

HutchBusiness reports that state officials have  committed $105 million in bonds to help with the project, which is expected to create more than 300 jobs.

Funding for the National Bio-Agro-Defense Facility (NBAF) has been slow because of concerns raised about —  and continuous reviews of — the size, scope, and risk of the lab.

Governor Sam Brownback called the contract “a big step forward.”

“In signing the contracts to proceed with construction of the NBAF’s Central Utility Plant, DHS is confirming their commitment to moving forward with construction of the laboratory facility itself,” Brownback said in a release.

Not everyone is excited about the news, however. Representative Tim Bishop (D-New York), whose district includes the aging plum Island lab, said it is “unwise to spend additional taxpayer dollars on a facility whose future remains in doubt.”

According to DHS, the utility facility will be right next to the main lab and will contain NBAF’s heating and cooling systems as well as the emergency power supply. The contract has gone to a company which provided site preparation services for the project.

Senator Pat Roberts (R-Kansas) is excited about the upcoming project. “This was the next step we have all been waiting for and moves us further down the construction timeline,” Roberts said in a release about the new contract. “We will continue to work together to monitor each step in the process to ensure NBAF remains a top national security priority.”

Construction of the facility is expected to take more than two years.

 

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