HOUGHTON - The Michigan Department of Community Health laboratory in Houghton will close this week, and its future is unknown.
Jay Meldrum, director at the Keweenaw Research Center, said the lab leased space in the Advanced Technology Development Complex at Michigan Technological University for years before announcing they would be leaving.
The lab, which conducts water testing, including for wells and public beaches, was slated for closure due to budget constraints and was first reported to remain open and be operated by the Western Upper Peninsula Health Department. However, those plans have since changed.
"From its inception, it was located at the ATDC," Meldrum said. "We built the corner of the building for them to suit their needs."
Meldrum said about a month or so ago, he received termination for the lab's lease.
"They are ceasing operations and will no longer test water at that facility," he said.
The lab used to do disease testing, including sexually transmitted disease and rabies. Meldrum said anyone who needs testing, including restaurants and those with wells, will have to look outside of the area, which could be as far as downstate Gaylord.
As previously reported, the laboratory, which is one of only two labs the MDCH had, has been in operation in Houghton for more than 20 years.
Meldrum said the facility had about eight people and laid off all but three, while one is in the process of retiring.
Guy St. Germain, health department health officer/executive officer at the health department, could not confirm details at this time and said he would have more information at a later date.
Stacey Kukkonen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.