Biosecurity facility to be done in 2006
Sen. Pat Roberts recalled the KSU team's visionary 1999 Senate subcommittee testimony during a ceremonial ground breaking Friday for a $50 million Biosecurity Research Institute on campus.
"President (Jon) Wefald's team came to Washington and outlined the possible agri-terrorist threat, and gave us a blueprint for action," Roberts said. "We took Jon's blueprint, we went to work. As a result, KSU is a leader in the fight against global terrorism and is now a catalyst for a better Kansas economy."
"This multi-faceted facility will allow our food and meat scientists to test techniques and equipment against food-borne disease-causing organisms, such as E. coli," he said. "It will help the food industry with safer, more effective production techniques."
The new research center will provide expanded laboratory space for KSU plant scientists to accelerate the on-going fight against diseases that affect crops in Kansas.
"The building will also be a place where animal health experts can study diseases that cause livestock producers in Kansas tens of millions of dollars," Trewyn said, "as well as to protect livestock from foreign diseases such as 'foot and mouth.' "
According to former Kansas Board of Regents chairman Clay C. Blair III, of Olathe, the facility is expected to generate revenue from corporate and other private-sector business contracts to support K-State's overall educational mission.
In addition to the K-State project, the Legislature's bond fund also will finance a proposed aviation research center at Wichita State University and a University of Kansas life sciences project, which is under construction.
Actual construction of the KSU research building is expected to begin in about six months, Blair said.
As for the future, Wefald predicted the facility would house an agricultural "SWAT team" consisting of "K-Staters, state veterinarians, the USDA and the National Guard and everybody else."
"This building, I can say to you, without question is vital for America's national security interests," he said. "That's how important this building is."
Matt Moline is freelance writer in Manhattan. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org