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October 28, 2011 | last updated December 2, 2011 5:42 pm

CT lawmakers approve Jackson Lab center

The Connecticut Legislature Wednesday night approved $291 million in bond funding to build a new $1 billion Jackson Laboratory research center.

The Jackson Laboratory for Genomic Medicine will analyze the genetics of human disease through the use of computational strategies and animal model systems, according to a press release from the Bar Harbor-based organization. Plans call for a 173,500-square-foot building on 17 acres of land provided by the state, located near the campus of the University of Connecticut Health Center in Farmington. The research center is projected to employ 320 people within the first 10 years, and 660 within 15 to 20 years. The measure passed in the Connecticut Senate 21-14 and 101-41 in the House, according to the Hartford Courant. The plan, backed by Gov. Dannel Malloy, received opposition from Republican lawmakers who questioned providing state funding to a nonprofit that would not pay corporate or property taxes, and whether the project would create jobs fast enough to help lower the state's 8.9% unemployment rate.

Connecticut will provide a total of $291 million in support to JAX Genomic Medicine over 10 years for construction, equipment and research collaborations, and Jackson will provide $809 million through federal research grants, philanthropy and service income, according to the release. Jackson executives plan to hash out details of the project with state officials, and then begin designing the building and recruiting scientists to work in interim facilities provided by the UConn Health Center. Construction will begin by early 2013, and the facility is projected to be completed by late 2014.

In May, Gov. Malloy announced an initiative called Bioscience Connecticut to create jobs and spur innovation by making the UConn Health Center a hub for bioscience work.

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