This weekend, pupils from Pirbright Village Primary School, Pirbright Parish Council and more than 120 other visitors from the local community were able to glimpse behind the scenes at The Pirbright Institute’s new high biocontainment facilities – an over £100 million project funded by the UK government via the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, which will help to protect the UK from the threat of emerging viruses.
The new facilities, which were opened to the public during the construction industry’s Open Doors Weekend (09-10 November), will enable the Institute to build on its reputation as a centre of excellence for research into virus diseases of livestock and viruses that can pass from animals to humans, helping to protect human and animal health and ensuring future economic and food security.
In partnership with Shepherd Construction, the main contractor on the project, The Pirbright Institute invited members of the local community in Pirbright, Surrey, to view the building in progress and hear about the work that will be done inside.
During two days of tours, visitors were treated to an exclusive look around the building, which will become one of the world’s most advanced high biocontainment laboratories when it is handed over to the Institute in 2014.
Dr Michael Johnson, Head of Engineering and Estates at The Pirbright Institute and Senior Responsible Officer for the project welcomed visitors to the site; he said “This building is part of a very exciting future for The Pirbright Institute. We will continue to do world class research into some of the most important viruses on the planet and this new facility will provide the very best environment in which to do that. As part of ‘Team Pirbright’ [the name given to the team comprising the Institute and contractors] we have set a new benchmark for design and engineering of high containment facilities and our expertise is already being called upon by other laboratories around the world.”
David Crampton, project director for Shepherd Construction commented: "This was an ideal opportunity for the public to gain a greater understanding of the unique challenges presented with this project and the detailed work that has been carried out, even before construction of the building began, to ensure the finished product will be truly world-class and exactly meets the requirements of the scientists as they conduct their important research."