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Umstead Research Farm Site, Butner, North Carolina


The North Carolina Consortium for the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility (NBAF) is a statewide public-private partnership. Academic members include two land-grant agriculture universities, a veterinary college, three medical institutions (two with public health components), and the North Carolina (NC) Community College Bionetwork. Government participants include federal, state and local officials, in addition to the North Carolina Departments of Agriculture, Health, Commerce, Environment, and Crime Control. Agriculture is represented by our major livestock associations (beef, dairy, poultry, and swine), the NC Farm Bureau, and the NC Agribusiness Council. Biotechnology is represented by non-profit groups promoting biotechnology statewide, and by private sector members in biological research and development, vaccine manufacturing, diagnostics, and similar fields.

Proposed NBAF Site Location

North Carolina NBAF Location

The proposed site comprises 195 acres in the Granville County portion of the 4,035-acre NC Department of Agriculture Umstead Research Farm (URF). The parcel is unimproved land that was partially logged in 2000. There is a 54-acre area on the northeast side available for expansion, although there are other expansion options available within the farm. URF neighbors include the NC Department of Health and Human Services, a National Guard facility, NC State University, and federal, county, and state entities.

Four large universities, the Research Triangle Park, the Eastern Regional Offices of U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service-Veterinary Services (APHIS-VS), and state agencies, are within a 25- to 45-minute drive. The site's proximity to nationally ranked research universities, the Triangle area's private sector, our agriculture resources, and government facilities, offers opportunities for synergies, communications, collaborations, and efficiencies that make it highly attractive.

Complementary Research And Workforce

The Triangle region, and the state, have garnered multiple awards and continuous recognition for its depth in science and engineering. This strength is generated by its research universities and community college training programs, and is enhanced by its extensive science and technology-based private sector, supported by science- and engineering-friendly communities. The Research Triangle region of North Carolina, within which the URF is centrally located, is a national resource in health, engineering, general science, and technology research. In the past few years, North Carolina ranked 7th and 15th nationally for total National Institutes of Health and National Science Foundation research funding. The Consortium also excels at moving research into the marketplace as evidenced by having two partner institutions (NC State University and UNC-Chapel Hill) in the Milken Institute's September 2006 top 25 U.S. Universities for Technology Transfer and Commercialization.

Resources are plentiful. Based on a quick survey, it is estimated that in the Research Triangle Park and immediate vicinity, private sector companies with at least 20-percent research laboratory space have nearly 8.6 million square feet of research laboratory space dedicated to addressing NBAF relevant issues. Note this does not include the large federal (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences), state (NC Agriculture, Environment, and Public Health), or university facilities.

The availability of highly trained workers extends across NBAF workforce needs, starting with construction and design workforce availability. From 2003 to 2006, the Research Triangle Regional Partnership projected a Triangle area three-year track of $800 million in biotechnology construction projects employing over 15,000 workers. North Carolina has approximately 30 architecture/engineering companies, and as many contractor companies, with a total of more than 1,500 employees with expertise in laboratory planning. At least five national architecture/engineering firms with experience in high biocontainment facilities have offices and employees in the area, with yet another moving to the Triangle this year. The workforce availability also includes those in the technical life science disciplines. Nearly half of North Carolina's 48,000 bioscience-related business employees work in the Triangle area. Approximately 10,000 employees work for pharmaceutical companies statewide carrying out aseptic manufacturing operations at the highest standards.

The workforce pipeline in North Carolina is also formidable. Central to this is the NC Community College System's (NCCCS) BioNetwork, a statewide program offering training from short courses and certificates through associate degree programs in biomanufacturing, biotechnology, and facility validation for life science technical, design, and construction workers. Statewide, during past three years nearly 2,850 students were enrolled in NCCCS biotechnology programs. For the academic year ending in 2005, over 1,200 more enrolled in relevant continuing education courses. In addition, the University of North Carolina system provides advanced training and facilities in these areas throughout the state. During the 2005-2006 academic year, NC institutions conferred nearly 8,000 bachelor's and graduate degrees in NBAF relevant areas.

Available Site Infrastructure

A major interstate highway (Interstate 85) is within three miles of the site, and connects with Interstates 40 and 95. Service spurs for the Norfolk-Southern Railroad exist in Butner, approximately three miles south. The Raleigh-Durham International airport is less than 25 miles away, and the Piedmont-Triad International airport is just over an hour drive from the proposed site. Public safety is managed by the NC Department of Crime Control & Public Safety, which offers the formidable resources of state-level security and protection to the NBAF site.

Power is supplied by Duke Energy Corporation (also supplies power to the Research Triangle Park), and would be able to provide any load demand to the NBAF. Natural gas is supplied by Public Service Company of North Carolina, a regulated public utility serving over 400,000 customers throughout a 28-county area.

Telephone and telecommunications is supplied locally by the town of Butner and/or the NC Department of Health and Human Services. Business telephone service is offered by Sprint/Embarq, and multiple cellular companies cover the area. Telecommunications availability includes the T1 service at the John Umstead Hospital in Butner, as well as regular commercial services via several private companies.

Water and sewer service is supplied by the South Granville Water and Sewer Authority. It has an operating water and sewer capacity of three million gallons per day (MGD) and five MGD, respectively, and is operating at approximately 50 percent capacity. Power, water, and communications are currently supplied throughout and around the URF, allowing several options for bringing service to the proposed site.

Last Published Date: October 17, 2014
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