Five contractors have submitted proposals to build the $523-million National Bio- and Agro-Defense Facility at Kansas State University in Manhattan, project sources confirm. Construction of the megalab, to be the center of U.S. anti-bioterror and agricultural defense research, is being managed by the U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security. It will replace the 50-plus-year-old Plum Island Animal Disease Center in New York state and is being designed by a Perkins & Will-led team.

DHS would not disclose details of the ongoing procurement, but according to company executives, those who submitted proposals earlier this month to build the facility include: a joint venture of Gilbane Building Co., Providence, R.I., and Turner Construction Co., New York City; a JV of Mortenson Construction, Minneapolis, and McCarthy Holdings Inc., St. Louis; a JV of New York City-based Bovis Lend Lease and Hunt Construction Group Inc., Scottsdale, Ariz.; a JV of PCL Construction Enterprises Inc., Denver, and Houston-based Vaughn Construction; and The Whiting-Turner Contracting Co., Baltimore, which has proposed alone. Award is set to be made by September.

However, a DHS spokesman confirms a lawsuit filed April 23 in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims by a Texas consortium challenging the agency's selection of the Kansas site. The suit, which seeks an injunction to block the construction procurement, is set for a June 8 hearing, according to published reports. According to the spokesman, the litigation has not interfered yet with the procurement.