A change in congressional leadership wouldn't endanger funding for the proposed $650 million federal biosecurity lab in Manhattan, Kansas State University President Kirk Schulz said Thursday.
Schulz was responding to a question from the Kansas Board of Regents during an update on the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility.
Many political projections indicate that Republicans may take over as the majority party in the U.S. House once the Nov. 2 elections are over.
But Schulz said that should have no impact on moving the necessary appropriations through Congress for the 520,000-square-foot lab.
Many bi-partisan groups, he said, have weighed in on the need for NBAF for national security reasons. "Those kinds of groups are going to keep the heat on.
“We can't ever relax the advocacy," Schulz said.
The lab will be used for research and development of counter-measures against biological threats to humans, animals and the food supply. It is being built to replace an aging facility on Plum Island in New York.
The new lab is expected to fully operational by the end of the decade.
Regent Chairman Gary Sherrer asked if the project, because of its national importance, was likely to change the "culture" of Kansas State University.
Schulz agreed that it will put KSU in the national spotlight.
"All boats rise when these kinds of things happen. It's going to affect the whole university in a positive way if we guide and lead it appropriately," he said.