MANHATTAN, Kan. (WIBW) -- As work continues on the construction of the central utilities plant that will support the National Bio and Agro Defense facility at Kansas State University, project execs are gearing up for the construction of NBAF’s main laboratory where research will be done on dangerous animal diseases.
Officials hope to start construction on the main lab in May of 2014, ending in 2020.
On Tuesday, NBAF’s construction managers hosted the first of two information sessions at the Four Points by Sheraton hotel in Manhattan for potential subcontractors and suppliers.
"There are small business opportunities and any local contractors who are interested in the project, these are outreach meetings in order to get them more information about the project and introduce them to the information that they’ll need to determine where they can fit in and help get a portion of the project," said Jon Jacobsmeyer, VP of Operations for McCarthy/Mortenson Joint Venture, the construction managers.
"With a project of this size with everything that’s going on, there are going to be a lot of opportunities that exist at all levels of the project both for small businesses, local contractors, even some large national companies," he added.
Hundreds came out to hear the necessary qualifications and requirements, eager for the chance to get involved.
"It’s a great opportunity and it’s right here in our hometown. We have employees who live here and we’d like to try to keep them off the highways driving to and from work, try to get them a very nice job- something you can hang your hat on that’s in town and you can drive by it and say, 'Hey we built that,'" said Jarrod Willich with Hi-Tech Interiors.
Another information session for interested contractors and suppliers will be held next Tuesday, July 23rd from 10 AM- 12 PM at the Four Points by Sheraton in Manhattan on Richards Drive.
A January 2012 economic impact report found the NBAF will employ approximately 326 permanent workers and support about 757 construction jobs. It is expected to have a $3.5 billion economic impact on the state in the facility’s first 20 years of use.
Also Tuesday, a U.S. Senate Appropriations Subcommittee voted to approve $404 million for NBAF’s construction- money that’s part of the Department of Homeland Security budget for 2014.
The legislation will go before the full Senate Appropriations Committee for consideration Thursday.
Law makers say the vote is a "critical step forward" for the lab.
“It’s encouraging that both the House and Senate have committed to funding levels of $404 million to make certain construction of the main laboratory begins in tandem with the Central Utility Plant which is already underway,” Senator Jerry Moran said in a statement. “NBAF is critical to our national security in protecting our agriculture, economy and citizens from biological and zoonotic threats, and I’m pleased we’ve prioritized this investment.”
“Senator Moran, Governor Brownback and I worked hard to ensure this project moves forward,” Senator Pat Roberts added. “Not only is this $404 million a significant investment in the project, it is also proof the appropriators agree with the House and the Administration that this effort is a national security priority.”