Global Health Research Building at Duke University Medical Center

Article excerpt

WIDESPREAD HEALTH CONCERNS CALL FOR COLLABORATIVE research lab buildings like this one at Duke.

* FUNCTION: First of 13 National Institutes of Health-funded Regional Biocontainment Laboratories, available to NIH-funded researchers from Duke and elsewhere.

* CHALLENGES: Avian flu, SARS, and West Nile are viruses--and anthrax and smallpox biological agents--that could potentially wreck havoc on life in the United States. Facilities are needed to study these threats and provide public help during a crisis, when local diagnostic labs may be overwhelmed. While Duke researchers and others have worked with these agents, animal research testing requires carefully planned and constructed biosafety level 3 labs with specialized equipment, notes Richard Frothingham, MD, building director of a new facility that's up to the task. Winning an NIH grant to build it on the site of a former parking lot within Duke's medical center campus was just the start. As planning began, officials realized that the grant funds wouldn't cover current material costs and the everevolving security requirements for these types of buildings.

* SOLUTIONS: Luckily, NIH developed a supplemental funding program for grant recipients to help with the budget overruns. And Hillier Architecture designers were able to consider future planned work at Duke to help economize and bring the project within budget, says Eric T. …