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   The deal comes at the right time for De Soto, where school enrollment has tripled
in the past decade and that good old prairie is more frequently in name than in evidence. The new sewer system will be in place by 2007, helping the city cope with the growth that has now engulfed such former outlying areas as Olathe and Lenexa.
   Olathe was the 19th-fastest-growing city among 251 U.S. cities with more than 100,000 residents between April 2000 and July 2004, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, growing at a 16.5-percent rate to more than 108,000 residents. Also coming in high on the list was neighboring Overland Park, at No. 45.
   According to the Conway Data New Plant Database, since early 2003 Lenexa and Olathe have welcomed more than 21 projects, headed by a pair of $25-million investments in 2004 in Lenexa from T-Mobile and composite lumber manufacturer Elk Composite. The two communities' industrial manufacturing profile persists, with other investments since 2004 from transformer manufacturer Torotel and industrial equipment maker Systems Material Handling in Olathe and from Amcor Packaging, air compressor maker Accessible Technologies and Westlake Hardware (headquarters) in Lenexa.
   Lenexa also is one of two Kansas City area communities to benefit in the past year from a DHL investment. The 215,000-sq.-ft. (19,974-sq.-m.) facility there brought a $15-million investment. A 68,678-sq.-ft. (6,380-sq.-m.) DHL facility in Kansas City, Kan., announced in September 2005, will bring a $3-million investment and 130 jobs.
   But the future biotech seeds that Sunflower is hoping to germinate have already been sown in Lenexa too, via a 2003 investment from pharmaceutical manufacturer JRH Biosciences and a $20-million, 200-job manufacturing expansion from clinical research company PRA International in 2004. PRA is also consolidating, from five K.C.-area offices. A 106,000-sq.-ft. (9,847-sq.-m.) facility will house close to 400 PRA employees initially, and a 42,000-sq-.ft. (3,902-sq.-m.) addition was scheduled to open in November.
   "This facility is a tangible representation of PRA's goal to streamline all aspects of our business," said Pat Donnelly, president and CEO of PRA International, at the grand opening in July, noting the company's expectation of reaping "significant operational efficiencies from this move."
   Overland Park also saw a healthcare expansion in July, when Costa Mesa, Calif-based pharmacy benefit management company Prescription Solutions chose to expand its mail service operations there. A new $35-million, 235,000-sq.-ft. (21,832-sq.-m.) facility at the Overland Park International Trade Center should be complete by mid-2006, and will eventually house up to 850 new jobs.
   "We selected Overland Park to expand our operations because the community and surrounding region have many of the necessary attributes PacifiCare values, including a friendly business climate, an educated and ample work force, and a convenient and suitable building location with a long-term lease option," said Ed Feaver, president of Prescription Solutions. The potential exists to add an additional 500 jobs by 2008. The company is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Cypress, Calif.-based PacifiCare Health Systems Inc.

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