Allina Building New $29M Medical Lab in Mpls.

The new medical lab, which is slated to open in February 2012, will consolidate about 12 labs that are currently located in five different buildings on the Abbott Northwestern Hospital campus.

Allina Hospitals & Clinics has started work on a project that has been on its radar for about 10 years-a consolidated central medical laboratory.

Construction began last month on the new $29 million lab, which will house 400 employees who are currently spread out among 12 labs located in five different buildings on the Abbott Northwestern Hospital campus.

The new lab is located on 10th Avenue in South Minneapolis in a building that Allina has owned since 2002. Space in the building, which is 587,322 square feet, was recently made available with the move of Diversified Distribution Systems-which is in the process of relocating its headquarters to Brooklyn Park.

The lab will occupy the second floor of the building, encompassing about 75,000 square feet. Allina already has office space in the building, and it's used for some administrative and warehousing functions.

According to Rick Panning, vice president of laboratory services at Allina, the new lab will perform a wide range of testing, everything from routine blood and urine testing to pathology reports, biopsies, and genetic testing.

Although it will still rely on reference labs like the Mayo Clinic to do more specialized and low-volume testing, Panning said that the new consolidated lab will allow Allina to do more in-house testing, which will ultimately save time and money.

Allina's labs not only perform testing for Allina hospitals and clinics, but they also do third-party testing for other labs that lack some on-site capabilities. Panning said that the new lab will allow Allina to better market its services to outside labs.

Panning also said that Allina is expanding its testing capabilities to include toxicology and virology testing services, which the organization previously did not have the space to undertake.

Golden Valley-based Mortenson Construction is handling the construction of the project, and Minneapolis-based RSP Architects is the project's architectural firm.

Allina is a nonprofit organization that owns 11 hospitals and 42 Allina medical clinics. In 2010, the organization performed 8.7 million lab tests.

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