The Kansas Senate approved a bill Wednesday, May 15, to provide an additional $202 million in bonds for the National Bio- and Agro-Defense Facility (NBAF) planned on the campus of Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kan., bringing the price tag to approximately $1.255 billion. With this latest development, the high-risk research facility in the heart of the Animal Health Corridor has rocketed even further past its original estimated cost of $650 million.
The $202 million in state bonds was solicited by Gov. Sam Brownback at the request of President Barack Obama after his administration budgeted $713 million for NBAF its fiscal year 2014 federal budget. The additional funds are in addition to the $140 million the state has already granted to the project. The Department of Homeland Security has invested $200 million in the 500,000-square-foot site for preparation, engineering, design and site-specific risk assessments.
“Clearly, the price tag is greater than originally thought,” says Ralph Richardson, dean of the Kansas State University College of Veterinary Medicine. “But by responding to biosecurity concerns--which are of the greatest importance--and simply the increased cost of construction because of delays, the country is still planning for the sort of facility that we need if we are going to maintain a leadership position in today’s global economy related to food safety and animal health.”