Iowa’s State Hygienic Laboratory Named Nation’s Healthiest Lab

The State Hygienic Laboratory at the University of Iowa has been awarded the Nation’s Healthiest Lab Award by the Association of Public Health Laboratories (APHL). The award celebrates excellence in environmental stewardship and health promotion in both practice and policy, and recognizes the laboratory that demonstrates outstanding efforts to reduce its collective environmental impact and ensure a healthy workplace.

Designed by OPN Architects in collaboration with HDR, the mission of the State Hygienic Laboratory is to protect and improve quality of life by providing reliable environmental and public health information through the collective knowledge and capabilities of our organization. The state’s public health and environmental laboratory since 1904, the Hygienic Laboratory serves all of Iowa’s 99 counties through disease detection, environmental monitoring, and newborn and maternal screening. It opened in 2010.

The lab space is designed to maximize efficiency and flexibility, while encouraging collaboration and interaction between different departments and projects. Rows of versatile lab stations are paired with dry lab workspaces, allowing staff to easily expand and contract various lab activities as needed. The number of lab stations devoted to biology or chemistry can also fluctuate, ensuring the new facility will accommodate the demands of the agency today and well into the future.

The State Hygienic Laboratory was a runner-up for APHL’s Healthiest Lab in 2012; this is its first win. Laboratories are only eligible to receive the Healthiest Laboratory Award once every three years.

The project was also awarded a Merit Award from the American Institute of Architects – Iowa Chapter in 2012