Now that we have the Center Green (CG) buildings, who should
move into them?
That, in a nutshell, is the challenge for the institution as it develops
space plans for the three buildings on Center Green Drive that UCAR purchased
in September. The issues are so complex that it will be several years
before everyone settles down into a new permanent home.
Steve Dickson, the former NCAR associate director who now chairs the UCAR
Space Implementation Committee (USIC), explains that a number of questions
need to be resolved before its determined which departments and
sections will end up in CG and which will remain in the Foothills and
Mesa Labs. The space issue is a bigger thing than Center Green by
a long shot, he says. Center Green is just part of the total
CG1 features bold architectural lines.
UCAR purchased the three buildings for $16.5 million on 6 September
as part of a long-term strategy to accommodate current space needs as
well as anticipated growth. The buildings, which flank the west side
of Foothills Parkway just south of the FL complex, offer about 80,000
square feet of space, and Boulder has granted preliminary approval for
the construction of a 20,000-square-foot addition. UCAR will also lease
a neighboring building at 3065 Center Green Drive to house Finance and
Administration (which will move from Pearl Street into the new space
OZ Architecture of Boulder is refining the preliminary space requirements
and will evaluate three space allocation options developed over the
past six months by staff committees. The UCAR Strategic Plan for Space
estimates that UCAR, NCAR, and UOP will need a total of 755,000 square
feet within five years because of current shortages, anticipated staff
expansions, and the swing space needed for visitors and other functions.
Thats a big increase over the 552,000 square feet that were available
before the purchaseand it means that even with the new buildings,
we may eventually need tens of thousands of additional square feet.
With 400 seats in its auditorium, CG more than doubles UCARs capacity
to convene large meetings in one place. The plans for constructing additional
space may include breakout rooms to further increase conference capacity.
Large collaborative projects have become the hallmark of atmospheric
science, and planning is now under way to provide the kinds of
meeting spaces that todays science requires, says Katy Schmoll,
UCAR vice president for finance and administration.
Movements on a checkerboard
One of the biggest challenges for the space planners is how to best
provide for the Atmospheric Chemistry Divisions laboratories,
now housed in ML. Because of both regulatory and research requirements,
those labs need sophisticated piping systems and an infrastructure that
can accommodate exhaust fans, fume hoods, tanks of gas, and other types
of equipment. The mesa may not be a suitable site.
Options include making extensive modifications to CG or FL buildings,
or constructing a new building in the FL complex. It may be less
expensive to build a new facility than to retrofit Center Green,
Steve says. A laboratory design consultant is helping space planners
evaluate the options, and a report may be available by about the beginning
of the year.
Another challenge is deciding which functions should be housed together
for maximum effectiveness. For example, would it make sense for the
office of UCAR president Rick Anthes to move to CG, near the facilitys
400-seat auditorium? Or should it remain at ML, close to Tim Killeen
and other staff in the NCAR directorate?
Complicating the situation is the ongoing refurbishment of ML. The NCAR
directorate is temporarily housed in CG1 (also called the headquarters
building), as is CGD, because of work on Tower A. When they return to
ML in the spring, other mesa staffers will be moved to CG temporarily
to make room for additional ML refurbishments.
Even as staffers rotate through CG, crews will begin making changes
to the new space to get it ready for permanent occupancy. This means
that some sections must be kept unoccupied at all times so new walls
and cables can be installed.
Its like a gaming problem, Steve says. Weve
got to leave some empty space on the checkerboard to move people around.
Until major issues like the ACD lab location are resolved, nobody knows
for sure who will wind up where. Even then, some of the options that
are tentatively approved may turn out to be unfeasible, once detailed
plans are completed. Steve hopes final placement decisions can be made
by February 2003, but even that may be optimistic.
Not just cubicles
Steve stresses that the CG buildings, which had been the headquarters
of the corporate
training firm CareerTrack and, more recently, the Internet company netLibrary,
will be refurbished to make them compatible with the institutions
research needs. This means that most of the buildings cubicles
will be replaced by traditional offices so staffers who need quiet can
close their doors. UCAR can draw on the experience redesigning the interior
of FL 1/2/3, which also had an open floor plan filled with cubicles
when purchased in 1990.
USIC will be considering general design and finish standards,
within which the specific needs of affected divisions and programs will
be addressed, Steve explains.
He also emphasizes that space planners are trying to accommodate everyones
priorities. Although not all staffers who want offices with windows
will get them, Steve is confident that everyone will have ample office
space. Offices that provide support functions will be housed in locations
that are convenient both for the staff and for the divisions with which
To that end, the USIC, F&A staff, and OZ Architecture are working
with divisions and programs to make sure that the new space is a good
fit for everyone. UCAR is in the process of hiring an experienced facilities
project manager to oversee the implementation of the strategic space
We think that those people who move will be very pleased with
their new offices, says Steve.