A joint venture of Mortenson Construction, Minneapolis, and McCarthy Holings Inc., Saint Louis, bested four other top contractor competitors to be construction manager for the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility in Manhattan, Kan. The estimated $523-million lab, to be the new center of U.S. infectious disease research, is being constructed by the U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security. The CM award of $3.2 million was announced on Sept. 18. Firms also vying for the contract included a joint venture of Gilbane Building Co. and Turner Construction Co.; a JV of Bovis Lend Lease and Hunt Construction Group; a JV of PCL Construction Enterprises Inc. and Vaughn Construction; and The Whiting-Turner Contracting Co., proposing alone. Project design is by Perkins + Will.