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Magazine recognizes new Jackson Laboratory building as Facility of the Year

Bar Harbor -

BAR HARBOR – In a national competition, a one-of-a-kind research facility at The Jackson Laboratory has won the Facility of the Year award presented by ALN Magazine and ALN World.

Jackson Laboratory architectural engineer Rick Burne, who led the project team, accepted the award at the magazines’ annual TurnKey Conference, held this year in Baltimore. The Importation and Isolation facility, completed in July 2010 on the Laboratory’s Bar Harbor, Maine, campus, was funded in part by the Maine Technology Asset Fund and created jobs in several sectors of the state’s economy.

The Facility of the Year award recognizes outstanding achievements in the design and construction of a new or renovated laboratory animal facility. The award, sponsored by Tecniplast, is intended to showcase new ideas and accomplishments in facility design, building and operation.

The nonprofit Jackson Laboratory’s mission is to discover the genetic basis for preventing, treating and curing diseases. The Laboratory also provides educational and research resources to the worldwide biomedical research community, which includes serving as a global collection and distribution point for valuable mouse models of human diseases.

The Importation and Isolation Facility houses the Laboratory’s Reproductive Sciences operations. The three-story, 22,500 square foot facility allows the Laboratory to receive, house and process all “imported” mice of unknown health status delivered from other institutions around the world. The building expands the Laboratory’s cryopreservation and embryo production operations, as well as its capacity to store, retrieve and ship cryopreserved embryos, ovaries, sperm and DNA samples.

Planning and building the Importation and Isolation facility involved close collaboration between the Reproductive Sciences group, headed by Rob Taft, Ph.D., and Facilities Engineering staff. The Jackson project team included biomedical engineer Joan Malcolm Albee, senior construction site superintendent Brian Hennigan, senior manager of cell biology John Kulik and many others.

Taft notes, “I think the key to the success of this project has been the communication and coordination among all of the stakeholders. From the beginning, planning was inclusive, involving the staff that would use the building on a daily basis. This broad, cross-functional team approach helped ensure that requirements were well defined, and potential problems anticipated and mitigated.”

The final product of these efforts, Taft adds, “is a facility that functions exceptionally well, with many unique features that both increase our operational efficiency and reduce waste and energy consumption.”

The total construction cost of the building was $8.4 million, of which $3.4 million was funded through the Maine Technology Asset Fund. MTAF grants are awarded competitively to projects intended to increase research capacity in the state. The project has added an additional seven new jobs at The Jackson Laboratory and helped retain 13 within the Reproductive Sciences department. The project was also a source of at least 75 jobs for vendors and contractors participating in this project during the economic downturn.

Following a detailed facility design effort, led by Steve Guest of RMW Architects, Sacramento, Calif., numerous Maine-based companies were hired to facilitate and execute the construction. These included WBRC Architects & Engineers, Bangor; Becker Structural Engineers, Portland; Woodard & Curran, Bangor; Raynor, Jay; RF Jordan, Ellsworth; ELCO Electrical, Bangor; and many others. Consigli Construction Company, Inc., of Portland led the team as construction manager. The design process also incorporated an innovative and collaboratively designed biosafety cabinet manufactured by The Baker Company of Sanford, Maine.

“It took a dedicated effort from all members of the project team to make this Facility the success it is,” said Burne. “The construction team embraced the design team’s vision and together delivered an award winning Facility on budget and ahead of schedule.”

Founded in 1929, The Jackson Laboratory is an independent, nonprofit biomedical research institution based in Bar Harbor, Maine, with a facility in Sacramento, California. Its mission is to discover the genetic basis for preventing, treating and curing human diseases, and to enable research and education for the global biomedical community. The Jackson Laboratory’s JAX® Mice & Services division supplies thousands of research mouse models and extensive research services to accelerate basic research and early stage drug discovery worldwide.

For More Information:

Contact Name: John Fitzpatrick

Telephone Number: (207)288-6138

Website: http://

Email: jwf@jax.org