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University of Iowa News Release


May 5, 2010

State Hygienic Laboratory dedicates new building in Coralville

hygienic-labThe State Hygienic Laboratory at the University of Iowa held dedication ceremonies today for its new building on the UI Research Park Campus in Coralville. The three-story, 113,900-square-foot facility houses Iowa's environmental and public health laboratory.

"The State Hygienic Laboratory represents one of the University of Iowa’s longest and most important commitments to the common good and public welfare of all Iowans," said UI President Sally Mason. "For too long, the lab has been housed in facilities that did not match the important work it does. The leaders and staff of the lab nevertheless have managed to provide the excellent services that Iowans need and expect. 

"We are grateful that now this critical organization is able to do its work in a building commensurate with its tasks and its significance, and it will be able to provide continued leadership in public health protection, research and education."

Funded by federal and state appropriations, the $37.75 million, state-of-the-art laboratory replaces the current lab in Oakdale Hall, which was built as a tuberculosis hospital in 1917. The Hygienic Laboratory moved to this location in the mid-1970s.

"This new building represents the commitment of the state of Iowa and the university to ensure that we maintain our leading role in disease prevention and environmental surveillance," said Hygienic Laboratory Director Christopher Atchison. "It is a recognition that laboratory science is a critical part of the quality of life in Iowa, now and into the future."

This is the third UI building to be constructed using LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) principles. This certification program is the nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction and operation of green buildings. It provides independent verification that the new laboratory is built in an environmentally responsible manner, and will be a healthy place to work.

The new State Hygienic Laboratory was designed by OPN Architects of Cedar Rapids and Des Moines, and HDR-CUH2A architects based in Atlanta. It was built by Knutson Construction Services of Iowa City.

Hygienic Laboratory scientists test for numerous infectious diseases, such as H1N1 influenza and rabies, and for environmental contaminants in the air, water, soil and food. The Laboratory provides newborn screening for all babies born in Iowa, North Dakota and South Dakota. In addition to the new laboratory in Coralville, the Hygienic Laboratory performs testing in the Iowa Laboratories Facility in Ankeny and as part of Lakeside Lab on Lake Okoboji.

STORY SOURCE: Hygienic Laboratory at the University of Iowa, 102 Oakdale Campus, H101 OH, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-5002

MEDIA CONTACT: Pat Blake, 319-335-4177,

PHOTOS: Night shot of Hygienic Laboratory by Tom Jorgensen available upon request. Contact Pat Blake at 319-335-4177 or