New Mexico Scientific Laboratories Tour

Wednesday September 29, 2010
5 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.

Attendees had the opportunity to tour the New Mexico Scientific Laboratories (NMSL) building, a brand new, 196,000-square-foot facility that was completed in early 2010. Three state agencies will occupy NMSL:

  • The NM Department of Health Scientific Laboratory Division (SLD)
  • The NM Office of the Medical Investigator (OMI)
  • The NM Department of Agriculture Veterinary Diagnostic Services (VDS).

These agencies are charged with providing specialized and capable response to public health and safety emergencies. Due to its innovative design and construction, NMSL is expected to achieve a minimum of LEED Silver certification—and potentially LEED Gold.

A schematic of the new NMSL facility

A schematic of the new NMSL facility

NMSL is a mixed-use occupancy facility containing administrative, office, and laboratory spaces divided between five floors. The building features three biosafety level (BSL) 3 laboratory suites (one for each of the state agencies) totaling 20,000 square feet. OMI's autopsy suite is believed to be the largest contiguous BSL-3 suite in the nation and one of the largest in the world. In addition to a variety of specialty laboratory equipment, NMSL is equipped with a $2 million effluent decontamination system and tissue digester. These two systems break down biofluid from the autopsy suites and animal remains from the necropsy suites and convert them to water that can be released into the city's sewer system and sludge that can be used for fertilizer. Only a few such systems exist in the United States.

Constructing a sustainable building was both a priority and a challenge for the NMSL design team, as a significant number of energy- and water-intensive processes at the facility directly conflicted with the state's mandated energy reductions and the Southwest's efforts to conserve its precious water resources. The team was able to meet the energy reduction goal by installing a heat recovery system and variable frequency drives, plus high-efficiency fume hoods, chillers, pumps, and fans. In addition, the team incorporated daylighting and skylights so that natural light is preserved; used solar controls, sunshades, and high-performance window glazing; and painted the building's interior with light colors to prevent solar absorption and help light reflection. The roof is covered in two light-colored membranes to reduce solar absorption and glare. To reduce water usage, local, low-water-consuming plants were used in the surrounding landscape.

Several firms involved in the building's design and construction will provide guides for this tour: Studio Southwest Architects, Jaynes Corporation, and JE Dunn Construction. NMSL building staff members will also be on hand to provide their unique users' perspective.

NMSL is located adjacent to the University of New Mexico campus, just two miles from the Albuquerque Convention Center. Prior to the tour, attendees enjoyed a special reception and ribbon cutting ceremony to dedicate the building. Hors d'oeuvres were served during the reception, and transportation was provided to and from the facility.

I2SL and Labs21 would like to extend a special thanks to our NMSL evening tour and reception sponsors:

Bridgers & Paxton Consulting Engineers, Inc. logo
Jaynes Corporation logo

JE Dunn Construction logo

JE Dunn Construction Company is a proud sponsor of the Labs21 2010 Annual Conference and a leading builder of science and technology facilities. JE Dunn has expertise in construction management, design-build, and integrated project delivery with over $2.3 billion of construction built annually.

Studio SW Architects logo


Please note, EPA and DOE have granted conference cosponsor, I2SL, permission to use conference-related fundraising as a means of supporting I2SL's Labs21 2010 Annual Conference activities.



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