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April 2006

Foothills Lab 0: ACD settles into new digs

Moving always feels like a chore, but having a brand new building to move into certainly sweetens the task.

ACD staffers are largely finished relocating their offices, labs, and meeting rooms from the Mesa Lab to Foothills Lab 0. The move came at a challenging time for the division, with many researchers having to prepare instruments and deploy to Mexico for the MIRAGE (Megacity Impacts of Regional and Global Environments) field campaign that took place during March.

FL0 Plaza

The plaza between FL0 (left) and FL2. (Photo by Carlye Calvin.)

Still, staffers report that FL0 is beginning to feel like home, even if boxes have yet to be unpacked and some of the labs will not be up and running until later in the summer, when researchers will return from the INTEX (Intercontinental Chemical Transport Experiment) field project based near Seattle.

"I loved working at the Mesa Lab, but this is so convenient," says Sue Schauffler, the division's deputy director. "I like being near so many people we collaborate with."

FL0 is especially notable for its carefully planned design that includes open spaces to encourage collaboration and interaction. It boasts a central atrium for gatherings and poster presentations, extra spaces to accommodate visitors, and connecting second-floor bridges to FL2 and FL3.

"The most unifying part of the new facility is that it allows all of ACD to work together in one place," says director Brian Ridley, pointing out that the HIRDLS (High Resolution Dynamics Limb Sounder) and MOPITT (Measurement of Pollution in the Troposphere) satellite teams have been largely separated from the rest of the division for about the past decade.

Senior scientist and former director Danny McKenna concurs. "We now have a much more friendly environment for interactions," he says.

Modern features

In addition to its smart layout, FL0 incorporates modern safety and optimization features in its state-of-the-art labs, as well as flexible space that ACD can reconfigure to serve different research needs.

It also features aesthetic touches such as skylights, sisal walls, and colorfully stained concrete floors, and it incorporates environmentally friendly building principles. "The lighting is energy efficient and there is a heat recovery system," says Marion Hammond, project manager for the building.

The building can accommodate 140 staffers in all. The first floor is home to modelers and labs. The second floor houses the ACD directorate, HIRDLS, MOPITT, and the Data Analysis and Assimilation Project. The third floor consists primarily of labs. The garden level has additional offices, storage space, and a computer room being used by RAL.

The building includes a greenhouse for studying interactions between plants and the atmosphere. In addition, landscaping outside the building features plants that can be incorporated into research experiments.

Construction began in October 2004 on the $13 million, 82,000-square-foot building. "The building's development is one more example of UCAR responding to the challenge of providing first-rate facilities for first-rate science," says Katy Schmoll, vice president for finance and administration. "We've all worked together to make it happen."

by Nicole Gordon

In this issue...

Foothills Lab 0: ACD settles into new digs

Staffers give high marks to new Leave Donation Program

Short Takes: An overview of projects throughout the organization

Random Profile: Gina Starr

Roberta Johnson named director of teachers association

Delphi Questions: FL basketball court, phone solicitations

Just One Look


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