The U.P.’s only State Police crime lab moved into a long-awaited new home last summer.
The uncertain state budget picture has left the lab’s future uncertain a few times since then.
But now those worries appear to be gone.
Last August, the lab moved from the old MarqTran bus depot, where it had been for 25 years, to an old U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service building off Wright Street.
Late last week, the state House and Senate both approved a funding bill that would allow the Michigan State Police to buy and renovate the building.
Lab director David Stephens says even though it means an initial outlay of $2.5 million, this will eventually save the state money and make it easier for U.P. law enforcement agencies to do their jobs.
The savings come from not needing to send materials down to the next closest lab, in Grayling, for testing, and not needing personnel from that lab to come to the U.P. to appear in court.
Marquette State Rep Steve Lindberg was one of the lawmakers who voted for the crime lab funding bill.
He says the lab is a critical crimefighting resource.
Lindberg also says the State Police 8th District Headquarters near Jilbert Dairy may also move into the same building as the lab after the renovations.
Governor Jennifer Granholm has not signed the lab funding bill into law yet.
But she is expected to do so.