New lab center puts Mississippi on global stage - - Jackson, MS

New lab center puts Mississippi on global stage

It took about a year and a half to complete and now the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center's Environmental Laboratory is in full operation.

It's houses about 300 scientists, engineers and staff, all working for the mission of the Army Corps of Engineers out of Vicksburg.

"It means the opportunity to really serve the environment and our people," said lab director Beth Fleming.

Fleming says it's more than just an expensive brick building with a $16.4 million price tag.

"The environment doesn't know a boundary so whether we're giving support to the soldier in what he does or whether it's support to water resources, that's what we contribute to our country's welfare," said Fleming.

"Yes, it's test tubes, yes, it computers, yes, it's experimental facilities of various types, but more than anything, it's a quality environment for the people that use those facilities to make new discoveries," said  ERDC Director Jeff Holland.

Holland says the building and the people in it help put Mississippi on a global stage when it comes to environmental research and serves as a magnet in attracting people from all over the world.

"This is honestly world class research that is done in this location. It's often not known by the community but there's no better research of this type that's done anywhere in the world," said Holland.

To help dedicate the more than 85,000 square feet, Under Secretary of the US Army Joseph Westphal told folks it's a one of a kind place which will usher in scientific development, education and jobs.

"We need to be able to have places where we can bring scientists, where we can mentor young scientists and bring about an integration of the knowledge and the skills people have across the world," said Westphal. "It's something that Mississippians can be proud of."

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