McCarthy, Mortenson Complete $940M Animal Disease Research Facility in Manhattan, Kansas

by Jeff Shaw

MANHATTAN, Kan. — McCarthy Mortenson NBAF, a joint venture between builders McCarthy Building Cos. and Mortenson Construction, has completed the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility (NBAF) in Manhattan, approximately 55 miles west of Topeka and 115 miles west of Kansas City.

Development costs for the animal disease research facility were estimated at $940 million. Developed to ensure public health and the safety and security of the nation’s food supply, the 707,000-square-foot facility is located on a 48-acre site. It is designed with stringent containment, blast-resistant and anti-terrorism requirements, as well as the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) high-wind design criteria adopted by the Department of Homeland Security.

NBAF features laboratories functioning at multiple biosafety levels, including the first facility in the United States with biosafety level 4 containment capable of housing large livestock. The lab portions total 574,000 square feet, while the freestanding, 87,000-square-foot Central Utility Plant houses boilers, chillers, emergency diesel generators and other support elements for the main laboratory facility.

In addition to having multiple laboratories, NBAF will also have a biologics development module to explore the development and production of potential vaccines, diagnostic platforms and veterinary medical countermeasures.

The property will functionally replace the aging Plum Island Animal Disease Center (PIADC), located on Plum Island, New York, just off the eastern tip of Long Island. The full transfer of the scientific mission from PIADC is scheduled to occur over the next two years.

With construction complete, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is taking steps to assume control of NBAF from the Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate.

The construction team is a joint venture between St. Louis-based McCarthy and Minneapolis-based Mortenson. The McCarthy/Mortenson team was selected through a best value competitive process based on the team’s expertise in constructing biosafety facilities and its experience in the local area. Other project partners include Perkins+Will, Flad & Associates Architects, Merrick & Co., Affiliated Engineering Inc. and CCRD Partners.

— Jeff Shaw

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