SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS)— Construction began on a new HIV/ AIDS research center in San Francisco Thursday, but the groundbreaking ceremony for the federally funded facility was a little bit different.

Instead of putting shovels into the ground, dignitaries used a sledgehammer to punch holes into the wall. The research center will eventually be housed in a building at 25 Van Ness Avenue that needs to be renovated.

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Dr. Susan Buckbinder from the Office of AIDS research said a $9.5 million grant from the National Institute of Health (NIH) will pay for it.

KCBS’ Bob Melrose Reports:

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“It’s the first time with the federal government that NIH has awarded this kind of money to a health department. They’ve only rewarded this kind of research money to universities,” Buckbinder said.

The building will eventually house programs that include testing, counseling, and an easier way to keep track of the disease.

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