NEW IBERIA, La. (KLFY) –A change is coming to New Iberia as a new Acadiana Crime Lab is on the way.
News 10’s Rodricka Taylor spoke with the laboratory director and Iberia Parish President M. Larry Richard about upcoming plans.
The Acadiana Criminalistics Laboratory has been servicing the community since the 80’s.
Kevin Ardoin, the laboratory’s director, said the current building used to be an oil field company.
He said state officials bought the land next to the building, hoping one day to use it and now that day is near.
“It’s very encouraging to hear that we are moving forward with this. This is something that’s been going on for quite some time. Our legislative delegations have been working on it for years, and hopefully it works,” Richard said.
As a sitting board member, Richard says he is working on getting the change done to improve the facility for the future of New Iberia.
“It’s a great deal for Louisiana and it’s something that we truly need.”
He continued: “We need a facility that’s going to be able to justify the type of work that’s actually being performed over there.”
There are eight parishes in Acadiana, Evangeline, St. Landry, Acadia, Lafayette, St. Martin, Vermilion, Iberia, and St. Mary that use the facility.
It is currently 10,000 sq. ft. and now has 23 employees.
Ardoin says the space will need to double in size and the number of employees will need to increase. He added:
“We need more space number one, and also the integrity of the building has some concerns,” Ardoin said.
He continued: “Particularly the roof is one area I’m worried about a lot. We have some issues, some rusting, some leakage issues over the years and continue to have.”
Ardoin added that with the hurricane season approaching, he is more concerned about the building.
“We got lucky with Laura (Hurricane) going on one side of us and Ida going on one side. If that had come here, I fear we would have had some significant issues with the facility.”
The building receives over six thousand cases a year to help and store evidence for violent crimes.
With a new facility is in the works, funding is a concern, Ardoin said.
“Capital outlay also requires a 25% match. So that’s also the challenge, which is why we’re going to the different entities to ask for support for this project.”
He said each parish will have a matching part to pay for their fair share.
“It’s looking really good. It’s in capital outlay right now and it appears that everything will work.” Richard said.
A council meeting is scheduled for Wednesday to discuss the funds needed for the center.