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DALLAS-After several years of working the plan, the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas will be ready to break ground in early 2006 on a $20-million lab and research facility. The preconstruction design goes before the board of regents for final approval in the coming months.

The present plan calls for 75,000 sf in a three-story building, but there’s a chance that extra floors will be added before ground breaks, says Chris Peck, vice president business development in Dallas for the St. Louis-based McCarthy Building Cos. Inc. He tells GlobeSt.com that informal talks have been held about vertically expanding the research and lab building, which will rise on a parking lot near Medical Center Drive on the south end of the campus.

The McCarthy team began the design/development phase about seven months ago. Peck says the plan will go before the board for final clearance “within the next month or so.” He says the approval is practically a given at this time, but is the firing pin to allow construction to begin in January or February 2006. Delivery is marked for 2007.

McCarthy, which has completed several UT Southwestern projects, won the contract in November 2004 in a competitive bidding. The Chicago-based Perkins & Will Inc.’s Dallas office designed the research facility.

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