InterVac planning gets go-ahead
The U of S is a step closer to housing a proposed major research facility dedicated to protecting humans and animals from serious infectious diseases like SARS and avian flu.
The Board of Governors gave the administration approval Dec. 9 to plan the design, finalize financial support and develop a governance structure for the $110-million International Vaccine Centre (InterVac). It would be built next to VIDO (the Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization) on campus, with construction likely starting in 2007 and finishing in 2009.
InterVac would include state-of-the-art labs, providing a biosafety Level 3 facility that could handle some of the more serious emerging infectious diseases. VIDO currently has only up to Level 2 labs.
The U of S Office of Research Communications reports that the new Centre – to be funded through the Canada Foundation for Innovation, all three levels of government and other sources – would be part of the national infectious disease research network and would provide a unique large-animal research facility for use by health scientists from across campus and around the world.
Richard Florizone, Vice-President of Finance & Resources, says the U of S is monitoring the general increase in construction costs affecting projects everywhere and now requires that an escalation factor be applied to all new U of S capital construction projects.
Contributing factors for the increased projected cost for InterVac include unprecedented recent construction activity in Western Canada leading to shortages of labour and materials, and unforeseeable design changes needed to ensure the complex facility meets safety certification requirements and animal care regulations now and into the future.
“We are closely monitoring costs associated with all our major projects and we are being careful to ensure that our estimates and project management are prudent,” Florizone says.
Of the $110-million that it is estimated InterVac will cost to build, more than $70 million has been committed from a variety of government and other sources. The U of S has received indications of funding commitments for much of the remaining $40 million. InterVac’s operating costs are expected to be covered by research grants, user fees, partnership funding and other sources.