KSU site for new $450 million federal bio-defense lab

With the aim to replace its aging lab at Plum Island in New York, the Department of Homeland Security has picked Kansas State University for building a new $450 million bio-defense lab - the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility.

Sites in Mississippi, Georgia, North Carolina and Texas were also under consideration for building the lab which would undertake the study of livestock diseases and some of the hazardous biological threats in the world.

Though no official document about DHS' final decision has been released as yet, two senators of the state have issued statements that confirm the DHS Undersecretary Jay Cohen having signed the document of the agency's final decision.

Spread out on 59 acres of land in Kansas, the lab will be built near the Biosecurity Research Institute, where analogous activities are conducted on plant and animal diseases. The main factors affecting the federal agency's decision in favor of Manhattan, Kansas, site is its proximity to research labs and colleges of agriculture and veterinary medicine of the Kansas State.

Hailing the decision of the DHS, Kansas Senator and a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Republican Sam Brownback said: "This is great news. NBAF is a great win for Kansas and Kansas is a great win for NBAF."

Noting that he would make sure that the federal project is fully funded, Brownback said that, in order to cover the extra costs of the project, more than $105 million would be provided by the state towards infrastructure improvements.