SAN DIEGO, CA – Construction of San Diego County’s new public health laboratory began with a multi-million dollar investment.
County officials kicked off a groundbreaking ceremony to begin construction of the facility at the County’s Operations Center in Kearny Mesa.
The new US$93.3 million laboratory will be nearly three times the size of the old Rosecrans building, which had to close due to outdated infrastructure.
The new two-story facility will measure 52,000 square feet and create space for nearly 90 employees and contractors, and still leave room for growth, it was revealed during the ceremony.
The county’s public health lab will protect everyone in the region by testing for infectious diseases such as COVID-19, respiratory syncytial virus known as RSV, influenza and a host of other ailments.
Lab workers will also test for food and water safety, animal rabies and dangerous pathogens such as anthrax. They will also be able to conduct research, assess environmental health, and assist with emergency preparedness and response.
The new complex will serve as a laboratory for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for San Diego and Imperial counties. The expanded facility will also allow for additional services such as whole genome sequencing and tuberculosis testing.
The County moved forward with the lab construction project after an analysis showed that campus office consolidation could empty an existing four-story office building.
That meant 600 Health Services Center staff members could move inside and save the County the US$130 million expense of building them a new facility.
The US$33.8 million structure will feature more than 700 spaces and up to 260 electric vehicle charging stations.
The lab’s equipment and cold storage needs require more electricity than a typical office building. Solar panels on both the building and parking structure will provide a large offset, covering about 60% of the electricity needed.
Construction will move forward quickly on the combined lab and garage project. The garage is expected to open in September 2024 and the lab in the spring of 2025.