A dispute has arisen over how to pay to remove and build an animal feed mill at Kansas State University that has to make way for the proposed National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility.
A member of the Kansas Board of Regents expressed dismay with the Kansas Bioscience Authority for not providing the $5.4 million that K-State says it needs.
“There was serious hope at one time that the $5.4 million would be funded through KBA funds and that is no longer the case,” said Regent Jarold “Jerry” Boettcher of Manhattan. “It’s most unfortunate” Boettcher said.
He said he has been present at some meetings when the funding issue was discussed, and he was confused as to why the KBA wasn’t helping out. “It’s caused a fair amount of heartburn,” he said.
The KBA, which invests in research projects and was a leader in getting the Department of Homeland Security to select K-State for NBAF, did not respond to Boettcher’s comments. A spokesman for the regents said the KBA has not made a final decision on the funding.
K-State says a decision on funding is needed soon as the NBAF project, a highly sought $451 million federal lab, moves forward. Site preparation for the high-level biosecurity lab is already taking place.
K-State has proposed a $13 million Grain Science Center Feed Mill project as a joint effort of its Department of Grain Science and Industry and Department of Animal Science and Industry. Because the existing feed-production facility is on the NBAF site, K-State had requested $5.4 million in NBAF relocation funds to be combined with $8 million in private funds to complete the project, according to a regents memo.
Now with the $5.4 million up in the air, K-State is requesting permission from the regents to issue bonds to cover the cost.
“Sometimes approvals take a while,” said Bruce Shubert, vice president for administration and finance at K-State. “I’m just trying to enable solutions depending upon actions,” he said.