The Army Public Health Center hosted a ground breaking ceremony for a new, state-of-the art-laboratory building Oct. 22.

Several hundred individuals were on hand to witness the ceremony --including Soldiers and civilians, elected officials, retirees, business executives and other members of the community.

Lt. Gen. Patricia D. Horoho, the Army Surgeon General and commander of the U.S. Army Medical Command was the keynote speaker of the event. In her remarks, she said the groundbreaking was a historic moment for the APHC.

"This has been a labor of love from this community," she said. "The Army's investment in the new facility is a symbol of their respect and their appreciation of the vital role of this great organization."

Currently, APHC's occupational and environmental health operations, analytical laboratories, as well as toxicology testing laboratories and the associated infrastructure support, are housed in 10 outdated buildings scattered over a wide area in Aberdeen Proving Ground, Edgewood Area. Most of these buildings are circa World War I and pre-World War II structures, ranging in age up to 90 years.

The new laboratory will optimize the current and emerging public health surveillance missions of the APHC. The $210 million structure will allow staff from many of the various APHC portfolios to work in one location and with shared logistical and operational assets, in a space of approximately 279,000 gross square feet

"This project has been at least 25 years in the making, and it is exciting to see it come to fruition," said John Resta, director of the APHC.

Staff who occupy the building will include military and civilian personnel who are biologists, chemists, toxicologists, industrial hygienists, health physicists, veterinary pathologists, laboratory animal veterinarians, animal care technicians and other public health professionals who have a significant impact on operational readiness and sustainment by continuously evaluating products and compounds to keep Soldiers ready and DOD employees, animals and their environment safe.