An announcement was made on Tuesday by the state Department of Forensic Science that a new forensic science facility will be built in Hanover County.
Department of Forensic Science stated that it has tapped into a contract for purchasing around 25 acres of land which will eventually house a new Central Forensic Laboratory, as well as, the office of the Chief Medical Examiner. Currently, both are located in Richmond. Another Department of Forensic Science & OCME facilities is located in Norfolk, Manassas, and Roanoke.
The sales are anticipated to close later this year and the beginning of the construction of the new facility will take place in 2021. The new 283,000 sqft facility is likely to be completed by 2024. The property is situated off Times-Dispatch Boulevard in Mechanicsville, around 10 miles away from the existing Richmond facility.
Director of the Department of Forensic Science, Linda Jackson stated that the demand for forensic services has risen over the years, hence there’s a requirement of more scientific & administrative staff, as well as, additional equipment and instrumentation. This project will enable regional DFS operations to be housed in one facility which has space for future advancement. This statement was passed in a press release.
The department of Forensic Science moved into its existing location at the corner of 5th Street & Jackson Street in Richmond as of 1998 & initiated leasing 25,000 square feet of space in an adjacent building in 2008.
A press released stated that these combined spaces aren’t any longer sufficient for the agencies to efficiently operate & meet the needs of the Commonwealth.
A total of 16 potential locations were considered. After it was found during the design phase of the project that building a new facility would be more cost-effective the plan for renovating the existing facility was scrapped.