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September 2000

Don't go out of your tree! The plaza's almost done

This artist's conception of the new tree plaza shows the concrete islands and grass berms (each about a foot high) that will provide groups with more seating and more flexibility for staging small- scale events. Two micro-amphitheatres will take advantage of the prime views. (Illustration courtesy FSS.)

The good news is that the Mesa Lab will have a brand-new tree plaza--including trees--before winter sets in. The bad news is that until then, ML employees will have to put up with a few more weeks of periodic distraction.

The worst is over, promises Tina Bogott, head of the ML refurbishment project. "It's going to continue to be noisy off and on," she says, but the jackhammering required to tear up the old tree plaza surface is finished. "The second layer of concrete didn't come out as easily as we thought," she says. Instead of trying to take up that layer, Tina and Facilities Support Services staff decided to keep it in place and modify the new surface going on top of it.

The new plaza will have upgraded drainage: its concrete surface will slope gently toward drains (about 1/8" per horizontal foot), "kind of like a driveway." A waterproof membrane and insulation will go beneath the three-inch concrete slab. The concrete won't be red aggregate, like the ML walls, but an admixture designed to blend in with the building. The plaza's design includes several grass berms and two amphitheatre-like spaces to accommodate small gatherings. Patmore ash trees will replace the honey locusts that were on their last legs.

Work space beneath the plaza is also being affected, says Tina. "We've been installing new drainage piping in the labs, boiler room, and shipping/receiving."

What's next? The new membrane will be installed over one to two weeks in September. According to Tina, "This process will use a hot asphalt kettle and may produce fumes similar to the roofing operations at the Foothills Lab." At press time, the new plaza was forecast to be complete by early November, which should give the new trees a chance to settle in before winter arrives.

• BH

Rewiring, reroofing, and other renovations

MINT: The Millennium Infrastructure Networking Technology project is giving the Foothills Lab a tenfold boost in networking power. Groups of 20 to 40 staff have been moved to temporary offices in FL1 for periods of two to three weeks while cabling is improved and new telecommunications links are installed. The overall communications infrastructure for the complex is also being upgraded.

MINT passed its halfway point in August and should be completed by next April. According to Marla Meehl, manager of SCD's Network Engineering and Technology Section, the new system can deliver a dedicated 100 Mbps (megabits per second) to the desktop, with the potential for 1,000 Mbps on copper cabling and 10 Gbps [gigabits per second] on fiber-optic cabling. "The most critical element is a wiring infrastructure able to provide network growth to the desktop and in the backbone for at least ten years. We have an excellent team working on this project and with the cooperation of the FL staff, the project is going extremely well," says Marla. For more details, see the Web page.

New roofing at FL and FB: The new Foothills Lab roof should be complete by late October. Physical Plant Services director John Pereira says the new roof will be lighter, reducing the physical load on the structure, and it will have a higher insulation value, resulting in energy savings. "Also, the new roof surface is designed for foot traffic, which will eliminate the past problem of roof leaks associated with maintaining rooftop mechanical and scientific equipment."

A reroofing of the Fleischmann Building is also in the cards, although details have yet to be pinned down.

ML utilities upgrade: This $5 million project, starting late in 2001, will install sprinklers throughout the building, improve electrical distribution and capacity, provide more efficient heating and air conditioning, and remove remnant asbestos from the Mesa Lab lobby's ceiling. "Everybody will be dislocated" in shifts that could last several weeks, says Tina. It hasn't been decided whether people will use temporary space in ML or go off site.


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Edited by Bob Henson, bhenson@ucar.edu
Prepared for the Web by Jacque Marshall
Last revised: Thu Sep 7 14:59:51 MDT 2000