New state lab to be built on the state Capitol grounds
A location has been chosen for a new state Laboratory, to serve the Department of Health and Human Services, as well as the Department of Environmental Quality.
The lab will be built on the Capitol grounds in Bismarck.
The 2021 Legislature approved $15 million for planning and design, and the 2023 Legislative Session approved another $55 million for construction.
HHS interim commissioner Sara Stolt said an architect and a consulting company were involved in choosing the site.
"They reviewed a variety of sites," Stolt said. "Ultimately, they chose the Capitol grounds because of the proximity to HHS and DEQ, and because — from a pure financial perspective — we have the space and land, and it didn't make sense to invest in purchasing a lot."
Stolt said the current lab facilities are not adequate to keep up with demand.
"The size and the quality of the building they're in now make it prohibitive to do some of the things that need to be done," Stolt said. "And the building needs constant maintenance."
Stolt said, for example, regulating temperature when you have lab specimens was tough, because of significant boiler and furnace issues, as well as other issues with drafty air and condensation.
"When you add it all up, it didn't make sense to make repairs, and that warranted a new building," Stolt said. "That will allow us to have the most efficient and effective lab services for both agencies."
Construction is expected to begin in April, with a projected completion date of June, 2026.