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MBJ Editorial

A big deal

Last week’s announcement that Mississippi is competing for the National Bio and Agrodefense Facility (NBAF) comes as great news for the entire state. This proposed $500-million research center could have a tremendous impact throughout Mississippi.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security is currently looking at three prospective locations in metro Jackson for the NBAF. The three sites are in Hinds County near Byram, Madison County near Flora and Rankin County near Brandon.

Other states in the running for the NBAF are Texas, Kentucky, Tennessee and Georgia. The NBAF will utilize 500,000 square feet of enclosed laboratory space on approximately 150 acres, with a total construction cost of $500 million. It will employ approximately 400 people, including more than 200 scientists as well as technicians and support staff, providing an average salary of approximately $75,000 per year.

Homeland Security’s major site selection criteria are many, but perhaps what is most critical to success in landing this project is unwavering community support.

The list of possible locations will be announced by early fall of 2006, and final site selection is scheduled for 2007. Construction will begin in 2008, with completion anticipated in 2012.

The Magnolia State’s business community must play an active role in assuring that this premier research facility is built in Mississippi.

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