O’Malley Cuts Ribbon for
State of Maryland Public Health Lab
Baltimore, MD (July
22, 2014) -- Governor Martin O’Malley
and Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, along with federal, State and
local officials cut the ceremonial ribbon today for the new State of Maryland
Public Health Laboratory (PHL). They were joined by project partners from the
Maryland Economic Development Corporation (MEDCO), Forest City – New East
Baltimore Partnership, East Baltimore
Development, Inc. (EBDI) and the Maryland Departments of Health and
Mental Hygiene (DHMH) and General Services (DGS). Located at the
Science + Technology Park at Johns Hopkins in East Baltimore, the new
state-of-the-art facility enhances Maryland’s ability to identify and respond
to current and emerging public health threats. Its proximity to the Johns
Hopkins School of Public Health also offers the
opportunity for collaboration and innovation.
Public Health Lab is the backbone of Maryland’s healthcare system and serves as
an early warning system to protect the health and well-being of Maryland
families,” said Governor Martin O’Malley. “We’re harnessing the power of
technology to strengthen our ability to respond more effectively and efficiently
to contain a wide range of public health emergencies from disease outbreaks to
natural disasters and bioterrorism.”
The new 234,000
square foot DHMH Public Health Lab replaces the 40-year old, outdated facility
at State Center in Baltimore. It has six levels and will
contain five scientific lab divisions: Environmental Chemistry, Microbiology,
Molecular Biology, Newborn and Childhood Screening, and Virology/Immunology. The PHL protects public health through surveillance and
tracking of diseases, toxic contamination of food and water, as well as
environmental hazards in water, soil and air. More than 10 million tests are
conducted annually by the PHL.
“Today we cement
our commitment to public health – and our commitment to a more vibrant East Baltimore,"
said Congressman Elijah E. Cummings. "I’m proud of the progress that’s
been made with the outstanding partnership between EBDI, the State of Maryland,
and the broader community – and I look forward to what’s next for this part of
state of the art facility will improve public health throughout Maryland and
keep us at the economic and scientific forefront of health technology,"
said Congressman John Sarbanes. "I commend all those involved for
making this ambitious vision into a reality."
The $170 million
project was financed through MEDCO, a company created by the General Assembly
to assist State and local jurisdictions in fostering and supporting economic
development projects. The development of the Public Health Lab in East Baltimore
will help anchor the Science + Technology Park at Johns Hopkins and will spur
the growth of jobs and education in the health care and technology sector.
cutting edge technology and flexible space, the new lab allows us to expand our
commitment to public health and gives us the capability to incorporate new
technology to meet Maryland’s future needs,” said DHMH Secretary Dr. Joshua M.
Sharfstein. “We’ll also have the opportunity to further strengthen our core
capabilities and enhance our overall preparedness by collaborating with our
neighbors at Johns Hopkins.”
DGS procured the
services of MEDCO to finance, develop and own the facility as part of an effort
to reduce dependence on the State's capital program to acquire major assets like
the Lab. Under the leadership of DGS,
along with DHMH, EBDI, MEDCO and Forest City-New East Baltimore Partnership, an
economic inclusion plan was created in partnership with the community. The
inclusion plan set goals for utilization of minority-owned firms and local
community hiring. The project has exceeded those goals, with more than 32
percent minority business participation (27% goal) and 30 percent locally-owned
business participation (20% goal). The project has generated nearly 1,200 (1,183 actual) construction jobs of which
about 11 percent were local community hires.
delivers on so many fronts, from helping drive the economic transformation
and community revitalization of East Baltimore to ensuring Maryland has a
state-of-the-art public health lab,” said DGS Secretary Alvin C. Collins.
of East Baltimore was named a Smart, Green and Growing (SGG) Initiative by
Governor O’Malley who launched the SGG initiative in 2009. The PHL meets Silver Leadership
in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) certification requirements, including direct natural
light in all interior laboratories. Employees have easy access to transit,
retail, restaurants and residential housing.
The State made an
initial investment of $6.45 million to launch the project in 2010. Approximately 212 laboratory employees will
relocate from the existing PHL to the new facility later this year when it’s
expected to be fully operational.
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