San Diego County officials broke ground Wednesday on a new public health lab at the County Operations Center in Kearny Mesa.
The $93.3 million project will be nearly three times the size of the old building on Rosecrans when it is complete. The older facility closed due to its aging infrastructure.
According to the county, the new two-story facility will measure 52,000 square feet and create space for nearly 90 employees and contractors, and still allow room to grow.
The county’s public health lab tests for infectious diseases such as COVID-19, Respiratory Syncytial Virus known as RSV, flu and others. Additionally, lab workers also test for food and water safety, animal rabies and dangerous pathogens like anthrax.
The new facility will serve as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Lab for San Diego and Imperial counties and the expanded facility also allows for additional services such as whole genome sequencing and testing for tuberculosis.
Officials moved forward on the project after an analysis found that consolidating campus offices could empty an existing four-story office building — moving 600 staff members for the Health Services Center and saving an estimated $130 million to build them a new facility.
Those savings are being used for construction of the public health lab and a six-level parking garage nearby — a $33.8 million structure with more than 700-spaces and up to 260 electric vehicle charging stations.
The garage is expected to open in September 2024 and the lab in spring 2025.
City News Service contributed to this article.