SARASOTA, Fla. – The area’s oldest, most established, locally owned and operated private commercial construction company, Halfacre Construction Company (HalfacreConstruction.com), is constructing a new United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) research and development facility in Manatee County.
The 28,210-square-foot building will be utilized to protect the area’s agriculture industry from non-indigenous insect outbreaks that affect Florida and the Caribbean. This hybrid-type building will replace the existing Sarasota facility on 57th Street and DeSoto Road.
It’s a prototype building. There is no other building like it in the world, says Roger Osborne, CEO of North Florida Government Properties, LLC.
“In the current facility, we release one million sterile male fruit flies every week,” said Osborne. “The new facility will allow us to release up to 200 million a week.”
The new design build for the USDA will not only allow for an increase in the production but is also equipped as an emergency facility to combat multiple outbreaks from various species, including the oriental fruit fly and screwworm fly.
Currently, sterile male Mediterranean fruit flies are being generated to combat the growing fruit fly epidemic. The sterile male fruit flies are released into the environment to impregnate female fruit flies – the culprits behind the damaged fruit. The end result is a sterile egg laid by the female fruit fly, which will not hatch, saving the fruit.
“This is one of the most efficient government-run operations you will find,” Osborne said. “And the new building will be much more efficient and laid out like a manufacturing facility.”
The building will house laboratories, cook and emergence rooms, two large walk-in coolers and an elaborate heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system to ensure the proper temperature and humidity is achieved for incubation of the sterile flies.
“This is the first facility built for this type of operation,” he says. “We chose Halfacre Construction Company to take on this challenging and specialty-type building because we’ve seen the company’s work and know their team can handle the special nature of this type of construction.”
Construction on the $6.3 million project began this month and was celebrated with a groundbreaking event on Nov. 11. Located at 7525 Commerce Court in Sarasota, construction on the LEED Silver designed building, on 3.5 acres, is scheduled for completion in fall 2017.
About Halfacre Construction Company
As the area’s oldest, most established, locally owned and operated private commercial construction company, Halfacre’s foundational strengths stand as evidence that its commercial and industrial construction projects will be delivered on time, within budget, with the utmost integrity and with the expertise and financial strength needed for success. Halfacre Construction also offers its expertise as a green building provider with the resources available to build viable, effective alternatives to reduce energy consumption and preserve natural resources. Staff includes U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) certified professionals who have demonstrated proficiency in green building practices and who possess a thorough grasp of the LEED Green Building Rating System. President Jack Cox serves as president of the Suncoast Charities for Children. For more information, please visit www.HalfacreConstruction.com.