May will likely mark the start of the five-year construction to build the National Bio & Agro-defense Facility (NBAF), according to an announcement from Kansas State University.
On March 3, Congress passed a bill that included the remaining $300 million to complete the $1.25 billion premier animal disease research laboratory. Construction on the lab's central utility plant has been under way since 2013 and is about 90% complete.
The federal research lab will be on the northeast edge of Kansas State University's Manhattan, Kan., campus.
"NBAF is needed to confront foreign animal diseases that threaten America's agricultural economy and food supply," said Ron Trewyn, the university's NBAF liaison. "Building this lab is long overdue."
Construction of the lab will begin in May, with construction efforts projected to peak in 2018 and 2019 when more than 875 construction personnel will be on site each day for several weeks. Lab construction is slated for completion in December 2020, but will likely take two years or more after that before NBAF is fully operational.
Once lab operations begin, the research facility will have about 400 employees and generate $3.5 billion into the Kansas economy in the first 20 years of operation.NBAF will be the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Department of Agriculture's foremost animal disease research facility. The biosafety level-3 and 4 laboratory will research emerging, high-consequence livestock diseases that threaten animal and human health.