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State public works board approves new health lab

The Maryland Board of Public Works has approved bonds needed to build a new $184 million public health laboratory in Baltimore.

The board, which consists of Gov. Martin O’Malley, Comptroller Peter Franchot and Treasurer Nancy Kopp, voted 2-0 to approve the lease. Kopp was not present.

Although Franchot voted for the lease, he said he was uncomfortable that the financing will put the state very close to reaching its debt limit.

The five-story building in Baltimore will be 234,000 square feet. It will replace an aging lab currently in Baltimore. It will provide public health protection by tracking diseases, toxic food and water contamination, as well as environmental hazards in water, soil and air.

It’s expected to be completed in 2014.