Bridges to the future

Randy Ortgiesen

Randy Ortgiesen, head of OCSR, wrote this column.

At Fermilab we have begun the process of building bridges connecting our present with our future, a future laid out in our Campus Master Plan. This was recently evident in the demolition of the CDF and DZero trailer complexes, a first step in our transition. While removal of these trailers was necessary to mitigate what was becoming a high-maintenance area because of increased deterioration of these “temporary facilities,” it comes at a time when the laboratory is in need of space for summer programs with teachers, students and an increasing number of users supporting the muon and neutrino programs.

While we have lost the CDF and DZero trailers, I am pleased to report that the laboratory was successful in demonstrating a need for improvements to Wilson Hall that resulted in the inclusion of a $9 million project in the FY16 President’s Budget Request. If funded, this project will begin the large-scale modernization of Wilson Hall to increase population density by moving to more standardized floor plans with reconfigurable furnishings. Additionally, the Integrated Engineering Research Center continues to make progress as the project team assesses various siting options and determines which functions can be relocated to this new building, which would include some visitor and user space.

Another recent example of a transitional bridge is future production space supporting cryomodule development and fabrication. The laboratory is developing a project to construct a new high-bay building in the Technical Campus called the ICB Addition. It will connect the Industrial Center Building and Industrial Building 3. However, this building will not be operational until FY18, and additional production space is needed in FY16. As an interim solution, a legacy building in the Village, Lab 2, will partially fill this need until the new facility is constructed. Lab 2 will then be demolished as part of the relocation of all laboratories in the village to the central and technical campuses.

During the transition — in the time before ribbon cutting of the modernized Wilson Hall, Integrated Engineering Research Center and the ICB Addition — there will be challenges that we must proactively address. Not the least of these is space for an increasing number of visitors and users supporting the muon and neutrino programs and for technicians to support an increasingly complex accelerator operation. As I walk around the laboratory, there appears to be existing space that can be repurposed during the transition. These small spaces currently store spare parts, supplies and even materials that may no longer be needed. While it takes time to assess and make decisions on what can stay and what can go, it is best to do it now while we still have folks around that know how critical all of these things are … or aren’t! Although these spaces are not ideal, they can help meet the interim needs and make a difference.

Fermilab is moving forward on several fronts to implement the master plan to prepare for achievement of our future science goals. There will be a lot of work, even some pain, in bridging the gap between where we are now and where we are going. Communicating our incremental progress and the path forward will be critically important for everyone to understand why we’re conducting these activities. The newly created Campus and Facility Planning Board, with representation from across the laboratory, will help prioritize the projects, monitor progress, and seek input to ensure the path forward is effective and transforming.

The demolition of the trailers by CDF was completed last month. Photo: Fermilab
The development of this newly cleared area is an initial step toward a more modern Fermilab campus and signifies a new era of Fermilab research. Photo: William Badgett, ND