Officials break ground on new KDHE laboratory in Topeka

Officials break ground at the new KDHE Lab on March 20, 2023.
Published: Mar. 20, 2023 at 2:17 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Officials broke ground on the site of the new home of the Kansas Department of Health and Environment Laboratory in Topeka.

Kansas Governor Laura Kelly says on Monday, March 20, she joined representatives from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, the Kansas Department of Administration and McCownGordon Construction. She said the group celebrated the start of construction on the new State of Kansas Health and Environment Laboratory.

“From stopping viruses in their tracks to keeping our drinking water clean, this new lab will be on the frontlines of keeping Kansans safe and healthy. But what excites me the most is that it will attract new talent to the area and address our public health worker shortage,” Gov. Kelly said. “KDHE is already hearing from job applicants that this new lab is part of the reason they want to come to Kansas. They want to be part of building the future of public health, and there’s no better place to do it than in a modern lab.”

Kelly indicated she and the State Finance Council approved the construction of the new KHEL in December 2021. She said American Rescue Plan Act funds as well as state general funds will cover half the total cost. The State will pay cash for the project and save millions in interest.

“KHEL is a full-service lab, providing approximately 1 million clinical and environment tests per year that assist in protecting the citizens of Kansas,” KDHE Secretary Janet Stanek said. “This new facility could not have come at a better time so that lab staff can continue to excel at what they do and also administer and expand their statewide laboratory improvement programs across nearly 2,000 medical, environmental, and law enforcement agencies.”

According to the Governor, the lab will be built on a 3.61-acre section of the Capitol Complex between Topeka Blvd. and Harrison St. The plans call for a 3-story building with about 100,000 square feet. The KHEL will become home to high-tech biology, chemistry and diagnostic laboratories, offices and training rooms.

“This has been in development for a long time, and I’m thrilled that we get to begin construction and to see the fruits of our labor,” Acting Secretary of Administration Adam Proffitt said. “This project and the Docking building project will have an enormous impact on the community of Topeka, downtown businesses, and all Kansans, who will be better served by this state-of-the-art biomedical lab.”

Kelly noted that the more than 100 employees at the current lab will transfer to the new lab once it is fully operational. Construction is expected to be finished by the spring of 2025.

For more information or renderings, click HERE.