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RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, NC-Upon completion, the new EPA campus being built in Research Triangle Park will accommodate one of the largest multi-disciplinary groups of environmental scientists in the world. The property is in Durham County, adjacent to Interstate 40 and surrounded by the North Carolina cities of Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill.

EPA project manager Chris Long tells GlobeSt.com the EPA currently rents 11 buildings in Research Triangle Park. “Seven of those will be consolidated into our new 1.2 million-sf campus, which is about 75% to 80% complete,” Long says. The total construction cost is $272.7 million.

The campus is expected to have room for 2,200 employees, 10,000 research animals, 400 laboratories, a conference center, a cafeteria, a national computer center and the childcare center. It is the largest complex ever built or owned by the EPA.

“We will be sharing a 500-acre campus with the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences,” Long says. “EPA proper is 132 of those acres, but our roads go beyond that.”

The main laboratory and office complex will consist of about 1.1 million sf. The national computer center building is 100,000 sf and the child-care center is roughly 10,000 sf.

Tom White, president and CEO of the Durham Chamber of Commerce, tells GlobeSt.com that lobbying for the facility to remain in the Triangle was a laborious and ongoing process.

“We spent a lot of time meeting with elected officials and various governmental authorities, but we certainly wanted the EPA’s expansion here because the downside risk was that we would lose the people who had been here for decades,” White says.

Over time, he says, “We did convince the powers that be that this expansion belonged in our community because this is where it had been sustained and nurtured for so long.” Additionally, he says, “because this is a great location to do research, it helped us recruit other environmental protection companies.”

The project is expected to be completed by next spring with occupancy tentatively scheduled for summer 2001.

“There’s a lot of joint research being done and a lot of good jobs being created because of the EPA’s presence here,” says White. “We would not only have lost all their people, we would also have lost all the contract service organizations that are here” if the expansion project weren’t built.

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