Board approves plan for new lab to expand science research

University Park, Pa. – The Penn State Board of Trustees today (Nov. 5) approved final plans for the Biological Research Laboratory at University Park. According to Al Horvath, senior vice president for Finance and Business, the 20,000-square-foot building is designed to support immunology and infectious disease research. It will also allow Penn State to broaden its research and attract and retain prominent faculty in these fields.

Horvath, who presented the plans to the trustees, said the Biological Research Laboratory site is between Park Avenue and Route 322.

“This lab will bolster the life science research and infectious research that we already have in place,” said Mary Kennett, professor of veterinary and biomedical sciences. “We are doing fantastic work in these areas and we’d like to expand upon it.”
Kennett said the lab is equipped with a level of precautions required to isolate bacteria and viruses in an enclosed facility. All staff working in the building will undergo extensive training in safety measures to meet federal regulations. Every other Big Ten school has at least one biosafety lab of this nature. 
The total cost of the lab is $23 million with the National Institutes of Health providing approximately $15 million. Kennett said the NIH funds most biomedical research in the United States that looks at infectious diseases, develops vaccines and studies new and emerging diseases. Horvath said Penn State expects NIH approval of the building plans in January and completion of the facility is slated for summer 2012.
Kennett also pointed out that the building will create a number of new jobs for people in the area, for both research and construction. NIH, she said, supports sustainable design concepts so the research building will be LEED certified, an internationally recognized green building certification system.

 

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Last Updated November 05, 2010