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Vol. LXII, No. 17
August 20, 2010
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Can We Get a Gold in Green?
Final Part of Bldg. 35, ‘Porter II’ Nears Groundbreaking

On the front page...

Construction is nearly set to begin on the second phase of NIH’s on-campus neuroscience facility, the Porter Neuroscience Research Center. PNRC II, construction of which was made possible by American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funds NIH received in 2009, is currently in a site-preparation phase that includes awarding of various building contracts. Groundbreaking could begin as soon as late summer or early fall this year.

Initially, Porter II was going to cost about $266 million of the total $500 million in ARRA funds that NIH was allotted for buildings and facilities. Several months ago, however, NIH received word that construction bids were coming in significantly lower than previously estimated.

Continued...


  Construction is nearly set to begin on Porter II.  
  Construction is nearly set to begin on Porter II.  

Due to the still-sluggish U.S. economy, “construction companies were hungry for business,” explained Glen Stonebraker, deputy director for ARRA, Office of Research Facilities. “They were willing to cut profits to get the jobs. Savings from that will allow us to add additional projects to the ARRA program.” (See sidebar for details.)

Foremost now in the minds of those leading the Porter II project, however, is how “green” the building can be, according to veteran NIH project manager and architect Frank Kutlak.

 

Construction of the PNRC II structure will complete the Porter Neuroscience Research Center, which was begun in 2001. The new portion’s design is set to receive a gold rating for its “green” concepts. The facility is named for John Edward Porter, the former congressman from Illinois who used to chair the House appropriations subcommittee overseeing the NIH budget.
Construction of the PNRC II structure will complete the Porter Neuroscience Research Center, which was begun in 2001. The new portion’s design is set to receive a gold rating for its “green” concepts. The facility is named for John Edward Porter, the former congressman from Illinois who used to chair the House appropriations subcommittee overseeing the NIH budget.

“We are on track for gold standard certification by LEED [Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design],” he said. “Labs use about 8 to 10 times as much energy as office buildings. It would be really an exceptional achievement for Porter II to get a gold LEED certification.”

An architect’s “fly-through” view of Porter II simulates what you’d see inside the building’s north entry on the first floor, looking south into the atrium. The stair goes down to the ground level. The boxes in the center background are meeting rooms, which are cantilevered on the south end of the atrium.
An architect’s “fly-through” view of Porter II simulates what you’d see inside the building’s north entry on the first floor, looking south into the atrium. The stair goes down to the ground level. The boxes in the center background are meeting rooms, which are cantilevered on the south end of the atrium. Click here to experience the fly-through on your computer.

The Washington, D.C.-based non-profit U.S. Green Building Council developed the first version of LEED, a building certification system recognized internationally, in 2000. The most current edition of the system consists of six categories: sustainable sites, innovation and design process, water efficiency, energy and atmosphere, materials and resources and indoor environmental quality. Independent review teams grade a building’s design in each of the categories and total scores win one of four rating levels: certified, silver, gold or platinum.

Among other green innovations, Porter II will have photovoltaics (solar-powered components) on its roof and geothermal wells underground to remove heat loads from its labs.

“These geothermal wells are closed-circuit loops that will provide supplementary cooling to reduce the building’s carbon footprint,” Kutlak explained.

Construction safety is another topic ORF is stressing with Porter II. “It’s enormously important to ORF. In fact we emphasized it in all of the RFPs [requests for proposals] for this building,” Kutlak said. “In addition, Derek Newcomer, the ORF construction safety officer, launched a partnership with [the Occupational Safety and Health Administration] to actively highlight construction safety and to monitor it extensively at this site.”

A central atrium space will connect PNRC II (l) with all levels of Porter I. The two phases will be known as Bldg. 35.
A central atrium space will connect PNRC II (l) with all levels of Porter I. The two phases will be known as Bldg. 35.

Scientists and research support staff from 7 institutes will share the 5-story Porter II facility, with 3 floors designed as “pure lab space.” NINDS, NICHD, NEI, NIDCR, NIBIB, NIDCD and NIMH are slated to occupy the facility, which will constitute about 55 percent of the neuroscience complex.

A basement-level vivarium and ground-level 190-seat conference center are also planned for the building. At completion, PNRC II will contain more than 306,000 gross square feet of space. A central atrium space will connect PNRC II with all levels of Porter I. Once joined, the two phases will be known collectively as Bldg. 35 or the Porter Neuroscience Research Center.

Perkins+Will architects designed PNRC II and will provide architectural construction administration services. Jacobs Project Management Co. will provide construction quality management services. The Whiting-Turner Construction Co. will be the construction manager and build the PNRC II facility. The first phase of the Porter Bldg. was built from 2001 to 2004. Porter II is expected to be completed and open in late 2013.

NIH Gets Green Light to Add B&F Projects to ARRA Program

Although it’s probably never bad news to hear you’re getting more money to spend, it can lead to high anxiety, or at least a sense of urgency—particularly when you have a strict timetable to use the extra funds. That’s the fortunate situation ORF Deputy Director for ARRA Glen Stonebraker and his colleagues found themselves in early this spring.

Back in February 2009, when NIH received $500 million of ARRA funds to spend on buildings and facilities, the agency was well prepared. Its list of top priorities was “shovel-ready” and raring to go. Porter II, renovation of the deteriorating parts of Bldg. 10, a makeover for Bldg. 3 and several other items were high on the list.

Then, due to a weak economy, construction companies began submitting significantly lower bids on the projects. Costs were not going to be as high as anyone planned. Usually that’s good news, right?

With ARRA funding, however, the financial boost comes with an ultra-tight deadline: Account for and spend all the extra money by Sept. 30, 2010, or give it back. That meant if Porter II was not going to require all of its allotted $266 million by the deadline, NIH was going to lose whatever was left over—unless the agency could get the go-ahead to fund the next projects on its B&F wish list.

Thanks to ARRA funds, the Porter Neuroscience Research Center can now be completed. Groundbreaking is due by early fall.
Thanks to ARRA funds, the Porter Neuroscience Research Center can now be completed. Groundbreaking is due by early fall.

“In the methodical way of government checks and balances, the approval process didn’t happen overnight,” Stonebraker said, “but the end result was gratifying. All of NIH’s proposed additional ARRA projects were approved.”

The most noteworthy of the additional projects are:

  • Bldg. 10 F Wing phase A
  • West Utility Tunnel increases the size and capacity of the chilled water and steam distribution systems to support future renovations in the F and distal wings of Bldg. 10.
  • Bldg. 12 Center for Information Technology phase 3 is the final phase of a project to ensure reliability of the NIH Data Center, which supports critical, enterprise-wide applications.
  • Bldg. 4 renovation addresses the first and second floors of Bldg. 4, totaling 28,300 gross square feet, to replace obsolete laboratories and to improve aging building systems.
  • Replace air-handling units serving critical functions in the ACRF; these have been experiencing an increasing frequency of breakdowns and associated maintenance and repair.
  • Replace steam line manhole no. 69 due to mechanical and structural deterioration.
  • Bldg. 60 chilled water and steam project to improve the reliability of heating and cooling in the Cloister (Bldg 60).
  • Repair roofs of multiple buildings.

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