176,000 SF

Services Provided

Architectural Lighting, Medical Equipment Planning, LEED, Sustainability/Energy

Forensic, Biosafety Laboratories

KJWW Engineering served as the MEP/FP engineer for the State of Iowa’s new Iowa Laboratories Facility, a sprawling five-building complex on the Des Moines Area Community College campus.  Situated on a 25-acre site the facility offers unique collaborative opportunities between the college and the various occupants regarding future employment, curriculum development, shared utilities, and coordinated building maintenance and operational services. 

The 176,000 SF facility building houses forensic laboratories, a morgue and autopsy suite, a biosafety laboratory, a cleanroom, testing laboratories, bio/chemistry laboratories, and general office space for the following agencies:

  • Department of Public Safety - Division of Criminal Investigation
  • Department of Public Health - State Medical Examiner
  • Department of Agriculture Laboratories
  • The University of Iowa Hygienic Laboratory

The state’s foremost crime analysts are now closer in proximity to one another.  While pathologists perform autopsies in one room, technicians are located next door to scrutinize crime scene evidence. The unified-labs concept promises to make investigations more efficient.

Security was a major concern, requiring the use of surveillance cameras, motion detectors and pass-card checkpoints.

The specialized lab areas include:

Hygienic Lab

Environmental microbiology, blood lead, inorganic instruments, limnology, minerals and metals, newborn screening lab, a Biosafety Level 3 (BSL-3) laboratory, a Class 1000 cleanroom, and mass spectroscopy.

In accordance with CDC and NIH guidelines, the BSL-3 ante and decontamination rooms, security system, directional ventilation and exhaust system, HEPA air filtration, plumbing utility isolation, and system commissioning maximize worker, public, and environmental safety from harmful agents.     

The BSL-3 lab provides rapid access to bioterrorism testing and training in Iowa. Testing for such items as Anthrax and SARS, and other outbreaks like West Nile Virus, Whooping Cough, as well as food and pesticide poisoning could be performed.

Agriculture Lab

Lab areas are composed of five main components – Pesticides, Food and Dairy, Feed and Fertilizer, Drug and Vitamin, and Entomology/Seed.  These areas include Instrument labs, DNA Pre and Post PCR, Microscopy, and an Analytical Lab.

Forensics Lab

DNA Analysis, Toxicology, Instrument Lab, firing range, and other specialized areas of Forensic Chemistry

Medical Examiner Lab

Evidence Drying/Prep, Tissue Prep and Histology Labs

Design phase required coordination with an extremely diverse group of building occupants and staff, as well as a vast number of external user groups and clients; including law enforcement, the medical community, academia, scientists, the general public, and a variety of locate, state, and federal government employees and vendors.LEED and green design practices were implemented throughout the building design. Building has been registered with the Green Building Council.

KJWW’s services included mechanical, electrical, plumbing, fire protection, and technology engineering planning and technical design, bidding, and construction administration services, review of cost estimating efforts, and providing, technical support for system commissioning.