PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — Federal aid from Congress to counter the COVID-19 pandemic could mean the South Dakota Department of Health gets a new laboratory complex — at federal taxpayers’ expense.

The $69.6 million plan that Health Secretary Joan Adam outlined Wednesday calls for a new lab to be built next to the current one constructed in 1995.

The current lab would get renovations, too, Adam said. The department then could put all of its 160 Pierre staff on one campus, at the corner of Governors Drive and Fourth Street on Pierre’s north side.

Adam discussed the proposal with the Senate Health and Human Services Committee. She stressed that it would rely on federal ARPA funding and needs approval from federal officials.

There would be $55.6 million of new construction and renovations. Another $14 million would go for additional expenses such as architectural design, site preparation, furniture, building commissioning, and movement of scientific equipment.

The current lab was financed by a $7.1 million bond that cost taxpayers $13.4 million by the time it was paid off in 2013.

Adam didn’t say who would move into locations the department would leave, such as the Robert B. Hayes Building, where the department’s top people work, next to the Capitol and overlooking Capitol Lake.

The state Bureau of Administration has been preparing a report on state-owned and state-leased office space in Pierre. Administration Commissioner Scott Bollinger was in the audience for Adam’s presentation.

The senators gave their unanimous endorsement to the Health Department legislation and forwarded it to the Senate Appropriations Committee for further action.