Governor Kelly Breaks Ground on New Kansas Health and Environmental Laboratory Facility

TOPEKA – Governor Laura Kelly today joined the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE), the Kansas Department of Administration, and representatives of McCownGordon Construction to celebrate the beginning of construction of the new State of Kansas Health and Environment Laboratory (KHEL).

“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,” Governor 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.”

The construction of a new KHEL was approved by Governor Kelly and the State Finance Council in December 2021. American Rescue Plan Act dollars and state general funds will each fund half of the total cost. The State is paying cash for this project, saving potentially millions of dollars in interest, because of the Governor’s fiscal responsibility.

“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.”

The lab will be built on a 3.61-acre section of the Capitol Complex between Topeka Boulevard and Harrison Street (State Parking Lot 4). Plans call for a three-story building of approximately 100,000 square feet. The KHEL will consist of 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.”

The more than 100 employees at the current lab will transfer to the lab once operational. The lab is expected to be complete by Spring 2025.

Project information and renderings can be found here.

Below are images from the groundbreaking ceremony for media use.