DHS Breaks Ground on $835M Bio, Agro-Defense Facility Near Topeka

The facility is scheduled for completion by 2020 and fully operational in 2022. NBAF will replace the existing Plum Island Animal Disease Center.

TOPEKA, KAN. — The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has broken ground on the $835 million National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility (NBAF) in the Topeka submarket of Manhattan.

The 574,000-square-foot facility will be located in the Kansas City Animal Health Corridor, the largest concentration of animal health companies in the world, according to DHS.

The 29-acre site will house advanced research, diagnostic testing and validation, countermeasure development and diagnostic training departments.

The countermeasure development team will work to develop vaccines and anti-viral therapies at the facility, while the diagnostic training department will focus on high-consequence livestock diseases.

“The NBAF laboratory will provide the nation with cutting-edge, state-of-the-art lab capabilities and help protect our food supply and the nation’s public health,” says Jeh Johnson, secretary of Homeland Security.

“NBAF addresses a serious vulnerability. The economic impact of a bio agricultural threat — deliberate or natural — could have a substantial effect on the food supply of this nation and have serious human health consequences. We will soon be able to ensure availability of vaccines and other rapid response capabilities to curb an outbreak,” continues Johnson.

“With the NBAF, our nation will have the first Bio Level 4 lab facility of its kind — a state-of-the-art bio-containment facility for the study of foreign animal and emerging diseases.”

The facility is scheduled for completion by 2020 and fully operational in 2022, at which time agricultural and bioterrorism experts will be able to study foreign animals, diseases transmitted from animals to humans, diseases that threaten animal agriculture and public health in the United States. NBAF will replace the existing Plum Island Animal Disease Center.

“This innovative new facility is capable of producing the research needed to protect our nation’s farmers, food supply, public health and the rural economy,” says Tom Vilsack, secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. “It has been a national priority for USDA (U.S. Department of Agriculture), DHS and our other partners as we work to replace aging facilities.”

DHS will partner with the USDA, state of Kansas, Kansas State University and city of Manhattan on this project. In total, the state of Kansas has provided $307 million for the project, while the city of Manhattan has invested $5 million toward the total acquisition costs for the NBAF.

The NBAF Design Partnership (NDP) is the project’s architect and engineer. The facility will be built by a joint venture between McCarthy Building Cos. and Mortenson Construction called McCarthy Mortensen NBAF A Joint Venture.

The team is currently working on the site’s 87,000-square-foot, freestanding Central Utility Plant (CUP). The $80 million plant will house boilers, chillers, emergency diesel generators and other support elements for the main laboratory facility. It is scheduled for completion this October.

The federal government created DHS following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. DHS seeks to protect the United States from terrorist attacks, man-made accidents and natural disasters.

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