PNNL to start construction on 20,000-sq.-ft. collaboration center

As part of Pacific Northwest National Laboratory’s plan to modernize its campus, it start construction on a new 20,000-sq.-ft. collaboration center this year.

PNNL went out to bid on the project in late January and will name the general contractor in mid-April.

Greg Koller, PNNL’s manager of external communications, said they also hope to have a new name for the facility by then — the term ‘collaboration center’ is being used temporarily.

Construction is expected to start this year and could be complete in the fall of 2017.

The facility will allow PNNL to foster more scientific collaboration between staff and those at other scientific institutions. It will also be used to host scientific and technical meetings that can include tours of PNNL lab space and equipment, as well as serving as a collaborative hub for internal staff.

Dr. Steven Ashby, PNNL’s lab director, talked about the need for the new facility during his talk at TRIDEC’s 2016 Economic Outlook, which was in January at TRAC.

“We have about 2,000 visitors annually,” he said.

And at times, they have had to rent tents for scientific symposiums because of a lack of adequate meeting space.

The new center will have a maximum capacity of 300 people a feature a flexible, modular design that will enable PNNL to host a variety of events with different space needs.

The center will offer bistro-style food service that can be used daily by PNNL staff and it will also offer space to accommodate caterers and catering.

Ashby said construction of the new facility is part of PNNL’s 12-year, $300 million plan to construction new facilities and modernize the existing buildings at the North Richland campus.

In August, PNNL celebrated the completion of the Systems Engineering Building, a $7.5 million, 16,000-sq.-ft. facility that boasts 10 chemistry labs.

And in December, PNNL awarded a $9.5 million construction contract to DGR*Grant Construction to build a 26,000-sq.-ft. office building, which is under construction and also expected to be complete in 2017.

Pacific Northwest National Laboratories is the largest employer in the Tri-Cities, employing about 4,400 people in 2015.

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