Fermilab’s Integrated Engineering Research Center officially open for business

Engineers and scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory have a new, leading-edge building to advance high-energy physics projects and technology innovation.

The DOE has awarded Fermilab the Project Completion and Start of Operations approval for its award-winning Integrated Engineering Research Center. Known as CD-4, the last of the Critical Decisions in the DOE Project Management of Capital Assets process, this approval affirms Fermilab’s completion of construction and readiness to operate this new state-of-the-art facility.

Completed on time and under budget despite the pandemic, the IERC is an 80,000-square-foot, multi-story laboratory and office building adjacent to the iconic Wilson Hall on the Fermilab campus. The new research center, funded by DOE’s Science Laboratory Infrastructure program, is intended to meet current and future needs for research performed at Fermilab for the DOE Office of Science.

“Successful completion of the IERC demonstrates a job really well done by the project team,” said Randy Ortgiesen, IERC project director. “Its completion will consolidate engineering and technical staff from remote areas across the site to yield many long-lasting benefits.”

Providing professional workspace for about 100 engineers and technicians, the research center features high-bay laboratory spaces and a high-quality cleanroom to limit dust particles and other contaminants during the production of ultra-precise electronic equipment. It also includes offices, meeting rooms and collaboration areas, and it provides much-needed space for Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment-related work, as well as other experiments that require research and development laboratories.

Its infrastructure will enable technological development for particle detectors, including electronics and application-specific integrated circuits, and much more. The building’s flexible design will allow for adaptation to meet future science needs with minimal down-time. Importantly, the IERC with its ample meeting space will enhance collaboration among the researchers and foster innovation.

The new, 80,000-square-foot Integrated Engineering Research Center, located next to Fermilab’s 16-story Wilson Hall, provides space for research, design, construction and testing of technologies for high-energy physics research. Photo: Ryan Postel, Fermilab

The architect’s design for the IERC reflects the iconic shape of Fermilab’s 16-story Wilson Hall, which is located next to the IERC. The completed IERC building garnered an award: The project won the Engineering News Record Midwest 2023 “Best Project” award in the higher education category.

The IERC was built with sustainability in mind. The building boasts energy-efficient lighting, ventilation, heating and air-conditioning, as well as large windows for natural lighting and low-flow water fixtures. Its exterior lays claim to sustainable features as well, with native and drought-tolerant plantings, and a 20,000-square-foot green roof.

“I am pleased and excited the IERC has achieved CD-4 status,” said Fermilab Director Lia Merminga. “With it, Fermilab has the go-ahead from DOE to pursue our mission in this beautiful space. We can now bring together engineers and technicians into this state-of-the-art facility where they can better collaborate and innovate to enable our laboratory’s important scientific mission synergistically.”

The construction of the Integrated Engineering Research Center was funded by the Science Laboratory Infrastructure program within the Department of Energy Office of Science.

Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory is supported by the Office of Science of the U.S. Department of Energy. The Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, please visit science.energy.gov.