Maryland Public Health Laboratory Holds Official Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony

(August 29, 2014) - One month ago, local, state and federal officials, including Governor of Maryland Martin O'Malley and Mayor of Baltimore Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, gathered for the ribbon-cutting ceremony at the new J. Mehsen Joseph Public Health Laboratory. Located in the the Science + Technology Park at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore, the new 234,000 square-foot laboratory enhances Maryland's ability to identify and respond to current and emerging public health threats.

Governor O'Malley spoke at the event, saying, "The 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. 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."

MISSON. As part of the Maryland Public Health Laboratory System's mission to monitor and ensure the health of Maryland's citizens, the new J. Mehsen Joseph Public Health Laboratory equips the state to confront serious community threats, including infectious diseases, growing antimicrobial drug resistance, contaminated and overburdened water supplies, and foodborne pathogens. Warren Hendrickson, Public Laboratory Market Sector Leader at HDR, says, "This Laboratory represents a new standard of excellence in public health laboratory architecture. The laboratories are specifically designed for unlimited flexibility to accommodate changes in laboratory instruments, testing volumes and methods, all to improve productivity and testing outcomes."

DESIGN. Staying true to the honest and straightforward character of traditional Baltimore architecture, the design of the Public Health Laboratory is simple, rational, and understated, an expression of the building's function. The south side of the building, facing the high-traffic Ashland Avenue, engages the community with views into warmly-lit gallery space. Similarly, on the building's east side overlooking Rutland Avenue, a perforated sunscreen exposes double-height public lobby space and collaboration areas. By making smaller pieces of the program visible and significant, the facility feels open to the community while still providing discretion and security to the labs.

COMMUNITY. The new facility explores public health as a major catalyst for urban revitalization. Building on the momentum of the restoration of Baltimore's Inner Harbor, the Public Health Laboratory anchors the Science + Technology Park at Johns Hopkins. Just north of the John's Hopkins Medical Campus, this science park and mixed-income community for families, businesses and public institutions will spur the growth of jobs and education in healthcare and technology.