Preparing for our future projects

Randy Ortgiesen

Randy Ortgiesen, head of Facilities Engineering Services Section, wrote this week’s column.

Fermilab will soon wrap up the construction of several large construction projects called General Plant Projects (GPP). Not only did these projects create local construction jobs, they perhaps more importantly helped the laboratory and DOE prepare for the future in a very real way. As we near completion, let me remind you of these critical projects.

  • The additions to the MI-8 service building and Industrial Building 3,
  • power and cooling upgrades to the Feynman Computing Center,
  • expansion of the New Muon Laboratory,
  • and emergency generator with safety improvements for Wilson Hall.

These activities helped to better prepare the laboratory for our future science mission, which includes new projects in support of the Intensity Frontier. Additionally, they helped improve the effectiveness in our existing research and development program, and allowed us to improve efficiencies in current operations. While the CryomoduleTest Facility (CMTF) is another important GPP underway in the vicinity of the New Muon Lab, this project was funded separate from the other GPPs.

It is important to mention one of the keys to this success was the superb coordination, cooperation and communication among the project teams. Teams consisting of the architectural/engineering designer, construction subcontractor, Procurement Department, ES&H, landlord organizations (customer), FESS project manager and construction coordinator, and the Fermi Site Office met weekly to review progress and discuss upcoming activities. The Finance Department also played a key role in ensuring financial accountability and report compliance. Periodically observing the interaction of the project teams on either of the projects gave me an appreciation for the importance of planning, execution and cooperation. Every member seemed to know their role and purpose on the team. They stepped through the meeting agenda recognizing this was an essential part of the project’s desired outcome for these projects, which were funded by the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act. One could only imagine what it must have been like to break ground on construction of this laboratory over 40 years ago, and what it will be like to break ground on the next big project in the near future; an order of magnitude larger than anything we have seen in the recent past.

Well done, project teams!