A brand new health department laboratory, on Woodrow Wilson Avenue in Jackson, sits empty because of design flaws. It was supposed to have opened in December of last year, but the earliest it can open is in 2013.
One of the most obvious design flaws is emergency showers in labs, that do not have drains. It gets much worse as we learned from state health officer Dr. Mary Currier.
"There are design flaws in the building that have to do with the ventilation system. The area of the building that needs to have negative pressure, that handles things like TB, so you don't have TB going out under the door, you don't want TB going out into the hallway, doesn't have negative pressure. The ventilation system, in that regard doesn't work. The other problem is that the ventilation system doesn't handle moisture as well as it needs to so we had some condensation issues in the building," said Dr. Currier.
The laboratory's director, Dr. Daphne Ware, also told us about the flaws in the building.
Dr. Ware said, "The original building specifications were fairly clear and accurate on what was necessary to have this building function, unfortunately in design, different people have made mistakes."
What have the delays done to costs? We talked with Mike Lucius, Deputy State Health Officer for Finance and Administration. "We don't know how much it's going to cost to fix the building, there are estimates out there that I have not been made aware of, but we are guessing by the time we finish the building will cost some $32 million dollars."
The brand new state health laboratory, which was supposed to open last year will not open until 2013 or later and will cost $32 million instead of the original $25 million.
The state department of finance and administration is responsible for construction of the building.
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