Photos: Tour Denver's new $28 million crime lab

Denver's new crime lab smells like fresh paint and virgin plastic. Some of the office furniture is still wrapped in it, or stacked in boxes.

But all of the major stuff — the lab benches, the fingerprint examination tables, the walk-in freezer and the test-firing range — is in place, waiting for the $28 million lab to be up and running in mid-July.

Westword took a sneak-peek tour today with Greggory LaBerge, the director of the Denver Police Forensics and Evidence Division. The building sits on the corner of West 14th Avenue and Cherokee Street, and is shaped like a double helix. It's six times bigger than the old lab, which is located across the plaza on the cramped sixth floor of police headquarters. Starting June 15, workers will move the essential equipment, such as high-powered microscopes, from the old lab to the new one, whose cost is being funded by Better Denver Bonds. The move will take about a month.

"Crime is happening 24-seven," LaBerge explains. "We can't just close."

The new lab is beautifully constructed, with wood paneling, glass railings, sage green walls and myriad windows letting in natural light. Four big sculptures by artist Cliff Garten decorate the lobby; two are DNA strands, and the other two (visible in the photo below) represent a bullet and a shock wave. All four will be lit up at night.

Click through to read more about the new lab.