A building that's been vacant for seven years was recently razed to make way for a renovation of the state laboratory abutting the Arnold Arboretum.
The Biologics Building (307 South St.) was constructed in 1904, had additions in 1926 and 1951, and was used for the production of diphtheria antitoxin and animal vaccines as a joint venture between Harvard University and the state.
The building continued to be used for the manufacture of vaccines until 2013, when MassBiologics, a division of the University of Massachusetts Medical School, moved to a newly built campus in Mattapan. MassBiologics develops and manufactures vaccines and other biologic products.
Since 2013, the building remained unoccupied and has now been demolished. The razing of the building has subsequently created room and space for the renovation project of the Tower Building (the Tower), also known as the William A. Hinton State Laboratory Institute, at the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.
Mass.gov says the renovation will cost $129 million, which among other things, will bring the laboratory in alignment with best practices to continue its work. The renovation project is in the design stage by architectural firm Payette and renderings are not yet available.
In the past, the laboratory tested for rabies, arboviruses, botulism, pandemic strains of influenza and was previously the only laboratory in the state that could adequately test for chemical and biological agents of terrorism, according to the state's website. There are other sites in Massachusetts that can test for those things.