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Sources: Kirk Schulz, 785-532-6221, kirks@k-state.edu;
and Ron Trewyn, 785-532-5110, trewyn@k-state.edu
News release prepared by: Beth Bohn, 785-532-2535, bbohn@k-state.edu

Friday, April 15, 2011

FEDERAL BUDGET POWERS UP WORK AT NBAF

MANHATTAN -- The federal budget bill passed by Congress on Thursday brings good news for Manhattan and Kansas State University: $40 million to fund the next round of work on the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility being built at K-State.

"We'd like to thank members of the state's congressional delegation for helping secure this vital funding for NBAF, which is an urgent national priority," said K-State President Kirk Schulz. "This funding shows Congress understands how vital NBAF is to the nation's food safety and security, and why Kansas State University is the right place for this important facility."

U.S. Rep. Lynn Jenkins, who represents Kansas' Second District, which includes Manhattan and K-State, said, "I have always said the federal government should have only a few foundational duties at its core. The first among these central obligations is the protection of the homeland and the American people. The work that will be done at NBAF in Manhattan to protect our food supply will fill a critical missing component of our national security. I am pleased to see that Congress and the president have again made NBAF a funding priority. Our security transcends politics, and I will continue to fight day in and day out for the protection, promotion and funding of the NBAF in Manhattan."

The $40 million, which is being matched with $40 million in state funding, will be used for a central utility plant on the NBAF site, said Ron Trewyn, K-State vice president for research.

"It will be great to have the project started and see the first building under way on the NBAF site," Trewyn said. "NBAF will be a modern, world-class research facility built in the most safe and secure manner possible."

The $650-million federal facility, to be constructed over the next few years at the northern edge of campus, will feature highly secure biosafety level 3 and 4 laboratories to develop vaccines and countermeasures to foreign animal, emerging and zoonotic diseases that threaten the U.S. animal agriculture and public health. It will be operated by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

Construction of the utility plant also is the start of an expected economic boost to the Manhattan area, Trewyn said. Work on NBAF is projected to bring 1,500 to 1,600 construction jobs to Manhattan over the four- to five-year period that the facility is being built, with the majority of the contractors, construction workers, plumbers and electricians from the region and using Manhattan’s hotels, restaurants and retail stores.

"The Department of Homeland Security wanted to build the lab in an area with high levels of research, and K-State is known as a national leader for its expertise in livestock medicine, food science and infectious diseases," Schulz said. "NBAF enhances K-State's goal of becoming a top 50 public research university by 2025 and opens the way for collaborations and partnerships between the facility and the university."