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New State Lab Plan Draws Crowd In Randolph Center

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A proposed state lab would occupy approximately 3 acres at the edge of the Vermont Technical College campus.

A meeting on a new state lab planned for Randolph Center drew a crowd of area residents Tuesday evening.

The new Vermont Agriculture and Environmental Laboratory is the last major state project slated for rebuilding in the wake of Tropical Storm Irene.

Since the old Waterbury facilities were flooded, the lab functions have been scattered among a number of different locations.

The proposed $25.6 million dollar, 34,000 square foot lab would be constructed on three acres of agricultural land on the campus of Vermont Technical College. It would employ 26 full-time and 16 part-time workers. The lab is scheduled for completion in June, 2018.

Those who attended the meeting welcomed the plans to build the lab nearby, but a few questioned the specific location.

Residents like Carol Doss expressed concern about the loss of farmland and the impact of increased traffic through the village.

"I'm concerned they’re going to urbanize this nice, historical agricultural community,” Doss said.

State officials detailed the functions of the lab and described it's energy efficient design. They said the structure envisioned would have minimal impact on views and on surrounding farmland.

Officials said two other nearby sites are also being considered. One is on the other side of the VTC campus, the second is located nearer to Interstate 89 between Randolph Center and Randolph.

The area was chosen due to its central location. Building the lab near the VTC campus would also offer educational opportunities for the college's students.