The Congressional Delegation of Rhode Island joined Governor Dan McKee, legislative leaders and representatives from Brown University and development partner Ancora L&G in a groundbreaking ceremony for the building, which is scheduled to be complete in 2025.
The Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH) State Health Laboratories will anchor the facility, with the state owning and occupying 80,000 square feet. These State Health Laboratories will provide a larger, more modern and technologically advanced workspace than the current state health lab at 50 Orms Street. The project will include a Biosafety Level 3 facility and provide critical services for a variety of infectious disease, environmental and forensic testing needs. The updated space will allow the State Health Laboratory to be more flexible in response to emerging threats and in applying new technologies including the expanding field of genome sequencing.
Ancora L&G will own the rest of the building, with the remaining floors available for lease to academic and industry partners in the biotechnology field. Brown University has signed a letter of intent with Ancora L&G to lease 20,000 square feet of lab space.
“Rhode Island has momentum, and this project is crucial to ensuring the momentum continues in the areas of public health and our life sciences economy,” said Governor McKee.
“The construction of this new facility in Rhode Island is essential to our efforts to strengthen the nation’s capacity to prevent and rapidly respond to any public health event,” said Dr. Rochelle Walensky, MD, MPH, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC). “Investments like these are critical to help equitably protect the health, safety and security of all.”
“We are delighted to have been selected as the developer for the RIDOH State Health Laboratories,” said Josh Parker, CEO of Ancora L&G. “The development will deliver much-needed infrastructure for Rhode Island, including state-of-the-art public health labs that will enhance the State’s ability to test for and manage a broad range of infectious diseases and illnesses, together with private-sector lab space to support expansion of the area’s growing bioscience ecosystem.”
“The Covid-19 pandemic made it clear that preparedness is key when public health emergencies strike,” said U.S. Congressman Jim Langevin. “This facility will help ensure that we have state-of-the-art technology at the ready if and when the next crisis arrives. In the meantime, it will deliver fast and reliable medical results to patients all across Rhode Island.”
Funding for the $81.7 million state laboratory comes from an Epidemiology and Laboratory Capacity Grant from the CDC. The total project cost is expected to be $165 million.
HOK is providing programming, lab planning, architecture, structural engineering and facade consulting. HOK also is designing the $750 million New York Public Health Lab (Wadsworth Center) in Albany, New York.
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