EHS and FME Lend Their Expertise to NCI Campus Refurbishment Project

By Siobhan Tierney, Contributing Writer
Group of people gathered around laboratory equipment.

The campus refurbishment project team wants to reduce inconveniences to the laboratories as much as possible during this time of transition.

In October 2015, the NCI executive officer and the director of NCI’s Office of Space and Facilities Management (OSFM) announced a wide-ranging refurbishment plan for NCI at Frederick. Since then, a project team comprising members from the Office of Scientific Operations, the Management Operations Support Branch, OSFM, the Center for Cancer Research, the Environment, Health, and Safety (EHS) directorate, and the Facilities Maintenance and Engineering (FME) directorate have met regularly with the laboratory groups affected by the refurbishment plan.

Currently, Buildings 433, 469, 538, 539, 560, and 1066 are slated for refurbishment.                        

The plan involves a number of complex processes, including laboratory programming, design development, construction, commissioning, and relocation/move-in. Representatives from EHS and FME have been working hard with the NCI at Frederick Refurbishment/Infrastructure Project team to ensure that this multi-year project is completed skillfully and efficiently.

One of the biggest challenges is finding a balance between space/infrastructure constraints and laboratory needs. Completing the refurbishments requires a significant amount of temporary space, and, of course, the final renovated space must support productive science in a safe working environment. That means the refurbished labs must accommodate research equipment while providing suitable safety features such as biosafety cabinets, chemical fume hoods, autoclave access, ventilation, and hazardous materials storage.

Additionally, EHS and FME must evaluate life safety aspects and emergency equipment, including egress access, sprinkler systems, fire alarms, oxygen monitors and alarms, and emergency showers and eyewashes, for both temporary and permanent laboratory space.

One member of the EHS team, Michael Hanna, said, “We’re glad to be contributing our expertise to the Refurbishment Design efforts, led by highly competent Project Managers at FME and leveraging the long experience of Program and OSFM administrators. This highly interactive team approach will lead to very positive outcomes for the scientific operations we support.”

Aside from infrastructure requirements, the team must consider regulatory compliance and licensing requirements such as radioactive material protocols, institutional biosafety committee registrations, and laboratory animal use. 

To ensure a successful outcome, FME has contracted the Kane Company, which will be working closely with both FME and EHS to safely relocate all affected laboratories on campus while renovations are being completed. EHS and FME are also coordinating with program representatives to ensure that the impact on research operations is minimal. Both teams want to reduce inconveniences to the laboratories as much as possible during this time of transition.

Please contact EHS at 301-846-1451 with any questions or for assistance.

Siobhan Tierney is the Program Manager of the Environment, Health, and Safety Program, Leidos Biomedical Research, Inc.

EHS and FME team members will be working as part of a coalition along with members of the Office of Scientific Operations, the Management Operations Support Branch, OSFM, and the Center for Cancer Research.

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