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Center for Predictive Medicine

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June 20, 2006

The University of Louisville is still on track to build a Level 3 biosafety lab on its Shelby Campus but is downsizing the facility by about 8,000 square feet to offset rising construction costs.

The Center for Predictive Medicine will be housed in a building measuring about 37,000 square feet instead of about 45,000 square feet but will still contain four research labs, U of L officials said June 19.

“There will be no loss of functionality,” said Nancy Martin, senior vice president for research at U of L and principal investigator for the project.

The lab is geared to developing vaccines to fight bioterrorism and emerging infectious diseases. Researchers there will work in a state-of-the-art facility designed and built according to rigorous safety standards.

The university and its architectural design consultant, CUH2A, are about one-third of the way through designing the building. Construction on the lab is set to begin in March and the lab is scheduled to open in October 2008.

U of L received a $22 million grant from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases in September to build the lab on a 4.2-acre tract at the northeast corner of Shelby Campus.

Construction costs have soared in recent months, due partly to Hurricane Katrina and partly to rising oil prices. The university decided to scale back the size of the building rather than exceed the budget for the project, said Larry Cook, executive vice president for health affairs at U of L.

“Compromising the safety and security of the building was never an option,” Cook said. “Instead, we decided that trimming back lab space would allow us to proceed with the project, stay within budget and still ensure maximum safety and security.”

Total cost of the lab is about $34.6 million. U of L is providing a 25 percent match of $7.3 million and another $5.3 million for non-federally funded costs such as equipment.

In late May, the university formed a community advisory committee to help with emergency planning for the biosafety lab. The group, which met for the first time on June 8, is expected to meet every two or three months, said organizer Cheri Hildreth, director of environmental health and safety and U of L.

“We really do want the community to be involved in this project,” Hildreth said. “The people in our new group already have given us some excellent ideas and I’m looking forward to having some very constructive meetings in the months ahead.”

For more information, call 502-852-1113.


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