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ATLANTA-Built for the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention here at a development cost of about $412 per sf, the just-completed $165-million, 400,000-sf, BSL-4 research laboratory is one of only eight in North America created for the study of the world’s most infectious diseases.

The center is at 1600 Clifton Rd. in northeast Atlanta, DeKalb County. McCarthy Building Cos. Inc. completed the project on a scheduled four-year track that began in October 2001. BSL-4 labs are considered the highest-containment facilities in existence, according to Edward H. Stehmeyer Jr., director of CDC’s facilities, planning and management office.

“McCarthy was selected for the firm’s experience and thorough understanding of high-containment lab construction and delivered the extra coordination necessary to build a state-of-the-art, secure facility,” Stehmeyer says. The Atlanta office of CUH2A, a Chicago-based architectural firm, was the project architect. Locally based Smith, Carter designed the BSL-4 spaces.

Besides the 12-story lab, the project includes an attached five-story facility. The combined facilities include Biosafety levels 2 and 3 labs, adjacent office areas, analytical equipment labs, molecular biology suites and a central glass washing facility. More than 450 researchers will work in the two structures.

McCarthy currently has more than $800 million in construction contracts for laboratories throughout the US, including a BSL-4 facility on the campus of Boston University and a BSL-3 agriculture facility for the US Department of Agriculture in Ames, IA.

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