A bioscience incubator project received more than just vocal support on Wednesday night from the Douglas County Commission.
Commissioners voted unanimously to provide $75,000 annually to a proposal to develop a life sciences incubator for a period up to 10 years. The city of Lawrence earlier this week agreed to do the same.
The city and county had already heard the proposal outlined a few weeks ago.
"I remain fine with this," Commissioner Charles Jones said.
"I think this is pretty exciting," Commissioner Bob Johnson said.
The project involves constructing a building on Kansas University's West Campus to be called the Lawrence Regional Life Sciences Incubator. The 20,000-square-foot building would provide office and laboratory space for startup companies in pharmaceutical development and other life science fields.
The incubator project originated with the Lawrence-Douglas County Biosciences Authority, formed in 2005 by the city, county and Lawrence Chamber of Commerce to develop infrastructure that would encourage new bioscience companies to move here.
In addition to the city and county funding, Lawrence-Douglas County Biosciences intends to provide $500,000. KU is asked to commit $2 million and land, and the Kansas Bioscience Authority will be asked to commit $4 million.
Use of the city and county funding is contingent on acquiring all of the other funding.
The incubator would be managed by the Lawrence Technology Center, a nonprofit group that provides business development services to technology companies. A strategic management staff would be hired to handle early planning issues and work with the startup companies, said Matthew McClorey, president of the technology center.
LaVerne Epp, chairman of the Lawrence-Douglas County authority, said he hopes the state bioscience authority would approve the $4 million in the fall. Construction on the building could then begin soon and be completed 10 to 12 months later. He hopes the building will be completed in 2010.
In other business, commissioners approved a low bid of $1.109 million from King Construction Co., of Oskaloosa, to reconstruct Douglas County Route 1055 in Baldwin City from Orange Street to Indiana Street.