The new Emerging Infectious Diseases Laboratory is a Biosafety Level-4 (BSL-4) facility CDC researchers will use to study and develop responses to many highly infectious diseases. "BSL-4 labs are the highest containment laboratories in existence," stated the contractor. Construction of this one began in October 2001.
The 12-story, 400,000-square-foot structure and an attached five-story facility also include BSL-2 and BSL-3 labs, adjacent office areas, analytical equipment labs, and molecular biology suites. The project included construction of a central utility plant to house all mechanical, electrical, and plumbing requirements for the new lab and other buildings on the campus.
Construction of the BSL-4 lab required specialized equipment and high-quality construction techniques, including an airtight environment, said Eddie Harris, McCarthy project director. Rigorous testing ensured the facility met the standards of a BSL-4 containment facility, he said. Air pressure-resistant doors and windows, Bio-seal air dampers, sealed electrical and plumbing penetrations, and HVAC controls were among the areas tested.
"This was a highly technical and sensitive job that required massive coordination of every program component, from the installation of the mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems, down to the concrete mix that we selected," Harris said.
McCarthy currently has more than $800 million in construction contracts for laboratories throughout the United States, including a BSL-4 facility on the campus of Boston University and a BSL-3 Ag facility for the United States Department of Agriculture in Ames, Iowa. For more information, visit www.mccarthy.com.
Publication date: 11/07/2005