UCAR > Communications > Staff Notes Monthly > September 2001 Search

September 2001

UCAR draws up plans for new Foothills building, laying groundwork for future expansion

Katy Schmoll, vice president for finance and administration, standing next to the proposed site of the new UCAR building behind FL3. (Photo by Carlye Calvin.)

UCAR administrators are planning to greatly boost office and lab space in the next few years, beginning with a major Foothills addition that could open in 2003.

They say the new building is needed because UCAR is likely to continue to grow significantly in coming years. UCAR is leasing offices on Pearl Street and Mitchell Lane and contending with tight quarters at the Mesa facility, even though it increased its office capacity just four years ago with the purchase of FL4.

"We're looking at room for expansion," says Katy Schmoll, vice president for finance and administration. "We've had a fairly steady pattern of growth over the years, and we need to start planning more proactively for that."

The first project on the drawing board is a major addition behind FL2 and FL3 on land that now contains parking space and a driveway. The size of the building will depend on negotiations between UCAR and Boulder officials. To win city appoval, new office buildings typically must meet certain requirements, such as a minimal number of parking spaces and an amount of land set aside for landscaping.

Katy hopes to begin construction next year and have the building ready for occupancy by 2003.

Once the new addition is completed, UCAR can stop leasing office space. Instead, all Boulder offices will be consolidated at two locations: Mesa and Foothills.

Katy, who works with other finance and administration staff at Pearl Street, believes it makes sense to bring employees closer together.

"We are separated from our customers, and that's not a good thing," she says. "We would like to be closer to the people we serve."

After the Foothills addition is completed, Katy believes that UCAR will need to start scouting out additional space if it continues to grow as rapidly as in the past few years. The number of employees in UCAR, NCAR, and UOP increased by more than 50 percent between 1987 and 2000, from 792 to 1,216.

"As soon as we finish the new addition, we'll probably be looking to expand again," she says.

Saving money

The Foothills addition may cost several million dollars, based on estimates that office space in Boulder costs $100 per square foot and lab space can cost twice that amount.

But Katy says that UCAR will actually save money through the construction.

That's because UCAR will finance the addition through a tax-free bond issue in conjunction with the city of Boulder, while simultaneously refinancing 1991 bonds that were used to finance the purchase of Foothills buildings 1, 2, and 3.

The lower interest rate, coupled with the savings from ending the Pearl Street and Mitchell Lane leases, will benefit UCAR financially, Katy says.

"We will in fact be paying less, even with the new building," she says.

• David Hosansky

History of UCAR buildings

Owned by UCAR or NSF:

Mesa Lab:
Occupied in 1967
204,098 NASF*

Fleischmann Building:
Occupied in 1969
4,046 NASF

Foothills 1, 2, 3
Occupied in 1991
236,058 NASF

Foothills 4
Purchased in 1997 (after UCAR leased portions for four years)
47,972 NASF

Leased by UCAR:

Mitchell Lane (UNAVCO)
Lease began in 1994
8,961 net square feet
Pearl Street
Lease began in 2000
23,216 net square feet

*NASF stands for net assignable square feet. This is a commonly used measure of available office and lab space that excludes areas devoted to stairwells, halls, restrooms, and other general uses.

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UCAR > Communications > Staff Notes Monthly > September 2001 Search

Edited by David Hosansky, hosansky@ucar.edu
Prepared for the Web by Jacque Marshall
Last revised: Mon Sep 17 15:38:00 MDT 2001