The State Hygienic Laboratory at the University of Iowa is nearing final approval for a $9.2 million grant from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to fund an additional BSL-3 (Biosafety Level 3) lab at the facility. University officials are now seeking Board of Regents approval to move forward with the project. The new laboratory, which would be 100% funded by the federal grant, would be located on the east side of the existing facility on the Oakdale Campus. The addition would enable additional health and safety testing for the state and its residents, according to a project approval request filed with the Board of Regents, which will consider the request when it meets Jan. 11-12. Michael Pantella, director of the State Hygienic Lab, said the lab has already been asked by the CDC to submit a full proposal, and he is confident the project will receive final approval by the CDC. Wade Aldous, the lab’s associate director who wrote the CDC grant proposal, said the laboratory’s creative use of space has thus far met the demands of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, it has also resulted in a less-than-ideal configuration of workspace. “The addition of this new lab space not only will improve workflow efficiency for our employees but will better enable us to serve the needs of Iowans,” Aldous said in an IowaNow article. Since the pandemic began in March 2020, the lab has processed approximately 1.6 million COVID tests. It also serves as a reference lab in the CDC’s Laboratory Response Network (biological and chemical), and as a member of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Emergency Response Network, both of which require BSL-3 lab space, according to the project summary. RDG Planning & Design in Des Moines was selected by the university as the design firm for the project.