UCAR Communications


staff notes monthly

April 2003

Spacing out: Building plans take shape

UCAR is making headway on plans for a new Foothills Lab building as well as an addition to Center Green and a paved path to connect the CG and FL complexes.

However, the UCAR Space Implementation Committee and the new facility project manager, Marion Hammond (see sidebar, page 2), warn that it may be another three to four years before everybody is settled in their new offices.

“We’re making progress, but these things do take a while,” cautions Jeff Reaves, UCAR vice president for business services, who is helping to oversee the space plans.

Jeff Reaves

The movement of offices and labs stems from the organization’s purchase of three buildings on Center Green Drive last September. The new buildings will relieve crowded conditions in FL and the Mesa Lab and accommodate anticipated growth over the next few years.

A big piece of the space picture is coming into focus now that it appears UCAR will be able to build an approximately 80,000-square-foot building behind FL2 and FL3, on land that is now used for parking. The new building, informally known as FL0, will be designed for Atmospheric Chemistry Division offices and labs. The Boulder Planning Department has reviewed preliminary plans, and UCAR is conducting a traffic study and augmenting the landscaping plan to address some of the department’s questions.

Another construction project—a 20,000-square-foot addition to CG1 that will provide the organization with more office space—is also under review by the planning department, and city approval is expected shortly.

In addition, plans are moving ahead for a paved bicycle/pedestrian path that will link FL and CG. The entities that would have to approve the path—the city of Boulder, Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad, Colorado Department of Transportation, and Colorado Public Utilities Commission—appear receptive to the idea, which would require UCAR to obtain an easement for the path’s route. If all goes well, the path could be in place before the end of the year.

Why so long?

Even if the city quickly signs off on FL0, some staffers may have to wait several years before settling into permanent space. Here’s why:
ACD, which is currently based mostly in ML’s B Tower and second basement (neither of which were designed for modern lab requirements), will remain in its current space until the completion of FL0—which could take two to three years. ACD’s vacated space will then be refurbished for the Climate and Global Dynamics Division, which will vacate other ML offices.

The former CGD space, in turn, will eventually be refurbished for the Environmental and Societal Impacts Group, which will move to ML from FL3.
Complicating matters somewhat is an ongoing refurbishment of ML, which has spurred several temporary moves. The NCAR director’s office, which has been working out of CG for several months, is expected to return to refurbished ML space in May, and CGD, which was also displaced, will return to ML in the early fall.

Also on tap is a refurbishment of FL4. This is likely to temporarily displace FL4 staffers as early as this fall.

In addition to the three purchased CG buildings, UCAR has also signed a five-year lease for offices at 3065 Center Green Drive, which will accommodate Finance & Administration. Staff began moving into those offices last month.

No one is immune from all the movements, and Jeff himself spent late March unpacking boxes after moving from Pearl Street offices to CG. He’s delighted with his new home and expects most staffers will also be happy once the dust settles.

“This is going to give us a lot more space, and it will be designed to meet specific office and lab needs,” he says.

“I think people are going to be very pleased once this process is over.” •David Hosansky

A space veteran

Marion Hammond, UCAR’s new facility project manager, is no stranger to the process of constructing buildings and reconfiguring offices.

Although her degree is in history and geography, she landed in the construction business in 1978. Since then, she has worked with contractors, designers, and users on a variety of projects.

“I’ve been on all sides,” she says, adding wryly, “Mostly, I’ve been in the middle.”

The middle is exactly where UCAR wants Marion, who was hired from Boulder Community Hospital in January. Her role is to bridge the gap between the contractors and designers who are creating new space for the organization, and the staffers who will be working in that space. If an administrator needs, say, a particular configuration for a suite of offices, Marion works with the contractors to meet those needs as closely as possible.

“She’s an ambassador,” explains Finance & Administration’s Jeff Reaves.

To deal with the sometimes demanding process of keeping all sides satisfied, Marion tries to stay goal-oriented. “It’s always a challenge, and the process is going to get stressful,” she says. “But you just figure out a way to work through it. We’re trying to give everyone the best possible product that we can.”

How is she enjoying UCAR? “It’s great,” she says. “Everyone here is really nice.”

The new Foothills Lab building will be adjacent to FL2 and FL3.

Also in this issue...

Karyn Sawyer weighs in on bombs, eels, and other career diversions

The marathoners: Staffers put in long shifts during snowstorm

ACD Studies Globe-Trotting Chemicals

A better fit: Jeffco to get new hangar

Refurbishment update: ML Library will move temporarily

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