July 27, 2001

Security research building gets first OK

The new international security research facility is a 64,000-square-foot building that will
combine the Lab’s disciplines to assess and counter threats to international security.

A new international security research facility designed to allow the Laboratory to conduct state-of the-art analysis on national security threats posed by the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction has received preliminary approval and praise from an independent review team.

The specially designed 64,000-square-foot Livermore facility will house offices, conference rooms, video teleconference facilities, an extensive document library, computer rooms, graphics lab and digital photo lab and print plant. The two-story office-style building will be constructed on the west side of the Lab on the north side of Mesquite Way and west of Avenue A.

“International security research is a growing part of the Laboratory’s nonproliferation mission,” said Wayne Shotts, AD for the Nonproliferation, Arms Control and International Security (NAI) Directorate. “This new facility will allow us to bring together the broad spectrum of Laboratory disciplines, from bioscience and chemistry to nuclear science and engineering, that are vital to the nation’s effort to assess and counter threats to international security.”

Buddy Swingle, Z Division leader, said the main building housing current research is about 40 years old and “no longer suitable for the people and equipment needed to conduct such research in this digital age. The Laboratory’s evolving mission in this research area requires a facility where researchers can evaluate a broad spectrum of information sources — from articles appearing in the international press to the most sensitive forms of intelligence.”

The $24.6 million building will house Z Division along with other NAI program elements from Q and R divisions involved in international security and proliferation research.

Laboratory international security research supports the DOE as well as other federal agencies, the U.S. military forces and senior policy makers. “The Laboratory provides a broadly informed, multidisciplinary resource to the intelligence community and policy programs,” said John Illige, deputy Z Division leader. “This facility will allow us to apply current information technology tools to our work.”

Noting that “we are in a growth mode,” Illige said “we’ve simply outgrown our facility.”

The new facility will allow consolidation of the division’s staff, currently dispersed in three buildings, and will co-locate additional NAI program elements collaborating now with building-to-building shuttles, he said.

Groundbreaking is scheduled for early 2002 with construction completion in late 2003 and full occupancy and activation in mid-2004. Construction will take an estimated 16-18 months.

The team that conducted the External Independent Review of the project was appointed by DOE’s Office of Engineering and Construction Management. Summarizing its preliminary report at the conclusion of the review, the team presented no “findings” nor “essential findings” — deficiencies — for this project. Of all the projects this team has reviewed, this was the first construction project with such a review outcome.

“The progress and results of the recent review are great news to the NNSA/OAK site office. The recent review, a mandated DOE project management review, challenged the project team to demonstrate that the project’s overall management, cost and schedule are credible and within the budgetary and administrative constraints under which DOE and the lab must operate,” said Anita Schinnerl Martin federal project manager with DOE/NNSA’s Oakland Operations Office.

“The project team’s approach integrates the expertise needed to ensure all programmatic requirements are met,” she said. “The team should be highly commended for its commitment and creating a one-of-a-kind work atmosphere. This positive preliminary report from the independent team shows that the partnership is thriving.”

Barbara Peterson, NAI deputy AD for operations, termed the results of the review “extraordinary” and she credits the team working on the project. “They’re doing a terrific job.”

Roger White, project manager, agrees that teamwork has been the key to the project’s success in meeting all the requirements for this specialized facility. “We’ve had a really good integrated team effort, both in-house and externally,” White said. “We brought everyone into the process early and built in a system of continuous feedback. This was a real shared effort.”

White said the facility is designed to assist the major support operations necessary to keep the facility functioning smoothly. By placing building infrastructure such as heating and cooling systems outside the highest security areas, Plant Engineering personnel can quickly address maintenance needs. The new building, which will be Bldg. 140, is also designed to be quite energy efficient and is to be built using “sustainable” materials — easy to produce, energy efficient and recyclable materials.

Translucent skylights will be used to bring natural light to the ground floor hallways and offices. “We’re trying to bring in elements that are aesthetic and that create a pleasant work environment,” White said.

Successful completion of the review effectively sets the baseline for the project and “allows us to go into final design,” he said, adding final design would be completed in January or February of 2002. “We’re really excited about moving forward with this project.”