R.S. Gass Central State Lab Replacement Programming

Project Details

Nashville, Tennessee


State of Tennessee


Civic, Healthcare


Architecture, Planning

Team Members



A2H was engaged by the State of Tennessee to provide a statement of building program needs for the R.S. Gass Central Laboratory currently located at 630 Hart Lane, Nashville Tennessee 37243. This program statement provides information necessary to document the needs, budget, and schedule for a new replacement facility. A2H collaborated with HDR, Inc. as the project’s specialty laboratory planning consultant.

The Central Lab currently exists in a seven-story facility originally built in 1950 as a Tuberculosis Hospital. The facility was renovated and repurposed in the 1980’s as the State’s Central Lab. The facility, located in the State’s 172-acre R.S. Gass Complex, also houses the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation , Tennessee Advanced Communication Network Region 3 Dispatch, Hart Lane Drivers Services Center, Davidson County Medical Examiner, Mid-Cumberland Regional Health Office and TDE Environmental Assistance Service.

The Central Lab facility is dated and worn and does not adequately support functions or compare favorably to a modern-day public health facility. Our programming approach and methodology involves the participation by members from the Department of Health, the Central Lab and STREAM through a series of work sessions conducted dually in person and virtually.

The document identifies the space / facility needs to serve the Lab’s current body of work and services…. irrespective of their current “make-do” facilities. The program identifies requirements for optimal operations of the Lab as they function today and projected into the future. To capture existing space, a program inventory was generated from existing floor plans. The spaces were captured to serve as a baseline, “point of departure” for the programmatic space needs assessment. Site visits and a walk-thru of the current facility were conducted to gain an understanding of current space utilization and condition as well as the paradigm of the users of the facility.

Initial relocation efforts reviewed several potential sites within the R.S. Gass Complex, identifying four primary areas. Criteria for the relocation, among many, included investigating developable topography, solar and wind analysis, and possible phasing activities. Special considerations were given to traffic patterns and existing roadway connections for personal and commercial vehicles entering the site both during construction and when the new facility is in operation.

The team further developed analysis and test fit studies of two potential sites. Working with the client team, a single site was identified for the relocation of the new Laboratory and a recommended building massing, building orientation, and the site components were analyzed. The ultimate result of this effort was that state proceeding with the full replacement project which is currently underway.

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