DoD Food Analysis & Diagnostic Laboratory

, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Fort Sam Houston, San Antonio, TX

Food Analysis lab

This revitalized 1960s facility houses flexible labs and offices to support users testing all food, drinking water and diagnostic submissions for the US Army. The modernized facility was originally two separate structures that are now linked by an addition. Finishes and fit-out are lab appropriate, and attention was focused on work flow, proper lighting levels, and providing an infrastructure that satisfies equipment and specialty lab needs.

The flexible design functionally and comfortably supports the lab's mission by providing large open spaces with movable furniture and quick-connect laboratory fixtures and fittings. New testing equipment and processes can be implemented without impacting the architecture and infrastructure of the BSL-2 laboratories. The program includes additional support spaces dedicated to sample storage, chemical storage and high-hazard processes, such as a Class One, Division Two, Group A, B, C and D fume hood room and a radioisotope testing lab.

Because the lab is the only facility of its kind in its region providing this type of testing for the US Army, the facility could not be closed during construction. The design team created a detailed phasing plan, and appropriate swing spaces were established on site, so that each laboratory was able to function throughout construction.

Due to budgetary constraints, the materials and furniture purchased for housing the laboratories in two temporary buildings had to also be used in the final fit-out of the modernized facility. Page developed equipment plans for each construction phase and identified each lab bench, etc. by type and number so that they could be relocated quickly and efficiently to their final location in the new facility. This level of planning reduced the amount of time during which samples could not be processed, so that none of the labs would face a backlog at any time during construction.

J&J Maintenance was the design-build partner on this project.

Building Facts

  • 47,400 GSF modernization
  • Type III Work Plan
  • 5 Laboratories
  • LEED Silver
Solvent Extraction and Chemical/Solvent Storage Lab

Mission-Critical Responsibility

The facility houses five primary testing laboratories that are responsible for the health and safety of our nation's troops. The chemistry laboratory tests samples of MREs, drinking water, and food for military working dogs. Diagnostics, microbiology and zoonotic serology and entomology labs are responsible for human and animal specimen analysis for disease surveillance and outbreak investigation. Specialized laboratories handle rabies testing and house mosquitoes and other insects.