The Galveston National Laboratory & Institute for Human Infections and Immunity at the University Texas Medical Branch at Galveston

Galveston National Laboratory (GNL) is one of two National Biocontainment Laboratories constructed under cooperative agreements awarded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The lab develops therapies and vaccines for the world’s most deadly infectious agents that can cause naturally occurring diseases or potentially be employed by terrorists. The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston (UTMB) owns and operates this facility, the largest outside the U.S. center for Disease Control.

 

This bio-containment research facility includes Biological Safety Level 4 (BSL-4), BSL-3, and BSL-2 laboratories and animal laboratories. To ensure public safety, the high-tech research building contains carefully designed structures in addition to elaborate, redundant electromechanical and waste treatment systems. Inside the high-containment lab, heat, pressure, and chemical systems process all liquid and solid wastes, and the high-efficiency filtration removes any airborne material. The double and triple redundancies in equipment and systems serve as backup. A comprehensive security system envelopes this highly complex facility. It is the largest BSL-4 ever constructed by a non-federal agency.

 

In collaboration with UTMB and The University of Texas System, Broaddus & Associates helped prepare the proposal to NIH, which led to UTMB’s selection to serve as part of a national biodefense network. Broaddus & Associates provided onsite project management services throughout all phases of planning, programming, design, and construction. The firm managed NIH construction grant administration and cash flow, as well as design and review comments.

 

Under careful management by Broaddus & Associates, GNL was not only completed $3.5 million below budget and on schedule, but it also achieved a very rapid startup and certification of its BSL-4 status due in part to implementation of Building Information Modeling.

 

Despite Hurricane Ike, which disabled most of Galveston and UTMB, striking one month after completion GNL’s BSL-4 certification was achieved on its original planned completion.

 

At the project’s completion, Broaddus & Associates received an award from UTMB “in recognition of outstanding service and dedication to the construction of the Galveston National Lab.” To date it remains the only one of the two national labs authorized to achieve BSL-4 status.