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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

USDA Research Agency Awards $12.4 Million Contract Under American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to Repair Historic Laboratory Building in Maryland / August 18, 2010 / News from the USDA Agricultural Research Service

USDA Research Agency Awards $12.4 Million Contract Under American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to Repair Historic Laboratory Building in Maryland

By Kim Kaplan
August 18, 2010

A construction contract for $12.4 million, funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, has been signed to provide critical deferred maintenance to equip an historic laboratory building to do cutting-edge research at the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Henry A. Wallace Beltsville Agricultural Research Center (BARC) in Beltsville, Md.

BARC is operated by the Agricultural Research Service (ARS), which is USDA's chief intramural scientific research agency, and is one of the largest agricultural science centers in the world.

The repairs will be done at BARC's Building 306, which was built in the 1930s to house research projects formerly conducted at USDA's Arlington Farm and subsequently moved to Beltsville to make way for the Pentagon. The building is an historic example of Georgian Revival architecture.

About 55 people, including 12 scientists, will move into Building 306 when the repairs are compete. This will include most of ARS' Environmental Management and Byproducts Utilization Laboratory as well as the Bee Research Laboratory, which is leading USDA's efforts to find the cause of Colony Collapse Disorder, the condition causing the mysterious disappearance of honey bees.

"With these repairs, Building 306 will be more environmentally efficient, and our research programs will be more effective in their renewed facilities," said BARC Director Joseph Spence.

The construction contract includes:

  • Replacing mechanical systems including air handling units, exhaust fans, duct systems, control systems, chiller and hot and chilled water distribution piping;
  • Replacing electrical systems including distribution wiring and panels, lighting fixtures, receptacles and data cables;
  • Replacing plumbing systems including hot and cold water, laboratory and sanitary waste lines, as well as specialized laboratory water and gas piping systems;
  • Replacing exterior and interior doors, the roof and an elevator, and removing asbestos-containing materials and lead-based paint;
  • Installing a fire sprinkler system and upgrading fire alarm systems, and
  • Repairing floor, wall and ceiling surfaces, laboratory casework and fixed laboratory equipment.

The contract has been awarded to the Whiting-Turner Contracting Company, Towson, Md.

Last Modified: 8/18/2010