Richmond is a player in a potential second campus for Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. A couple of forces are at work. The existing LBNL is running out of space in its present home adjacent to U.C. Berkeley. There is considerable opposition to continues expansion in environmentally sensitive areas in Berkeley. Save Strawberry Canyon has prevailed in two court cases and continues to challenge expansion on Berkeley , one before Judge Vaugh Walker in Federal Court, and one before Alameda Superior Court. Two more projects are now going through environmental review.
The Richmond Field Station, which U.C. already owns, is a natural location for BNL expansion. There are however, concerns about whether enough space is available, and there appears to be a considerable hazardous waste contamination from previous uses that would take some time to fully characterize and clean up. The City of Richmond City Council has already gone on record as welcoming LBNL expansion at the Richmond Field Station. Richmond is also a partner with LBNL in the East Bay Green Corridor Project.
In addition to the Richmond Field Station, there is interest in promoting Marina Bay and Point Molate as expansion sites, and the former Zeneca property adjacent to the Richmond Field Station could double the size of available land at that site.
An RFP is going out in December, but Richmond will be competing with other East bay locations, including Alameda.
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September 16, 2010
Julie Chao (510) 486-6491 JHChao@lbl.gov
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Increased funding for science programs at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in recent years has meant more jobs and more research projects. But it has also meant less space. With office and laboratory space becoming increasingly tight and some 20 percent of its staff and facilities already off-site in leased facilities, Berkeley Lab has decided to look off-site for a long-term solution to its space crunch.
In a community presentation Monday evening, Berkeley Lab’s Chief Operations Officer Jim Krupnick spelled out the rationale for opening a second campus to supplement the Lab’s main site in the Berkeley Hills. He also listed desired attributes for a new location and a rough outline of the process for finding a new site and obtaining approval for it in his talk to the Community Advisory Group (CAG).
Berkeley Lab established the CAG, which consists of 15 members from the community, earlier this year to improve communications with neighbors and others on the Lab’s physical planning and development. Meetings are held about once every two months and are open to the general public.
The Department of Energy's Joint Genome Institute, located in Walnut Creek, is one of four Berkeley Lab's off-site facilities and the furthest away.
While most of the 4,200 employees of Berkeley Lab work at its main location in the Berkeley hills, about 20 percent of them are spread around the East Bay in four facilities: the Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI) in Emeryville, the Joint Genome Institute (JGI) in Walnut Creek, the National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center in Oakland and much of the Life Sciences Division in West Berkeley.
A single second campus would have substantial scientific benefits by allowing researchers to interact more directly, thus encouraging collaboration and cross-disciplinary research. For example, scientists at JBEI work closely with those in JGI to sequence crops that might be used to produce next-generation biofuels.
But beyond co-locating scattered facilities, a second campus is needed to handle future growth of the Lab—Lab leadership is looking out as far ahead as 30 to 50 years. “We’re still growing,” Krupnick said. “We’re still getting new funding for research programs, such as the Solar Energy Research Center and the User Testbed Facility [for research on energy-efficient buildings].”
To meet these needs, Krupnick said the second site would need to be expandable to 750,000 to 2 million gross square feet. This could eventually double the Lab’s current footprint at its main site, which is about 1.8 million square feet. Another important criterion is that the secondary site be located not more than about 20 minutes away from the main Lab site in Berkeley. Krupnick said the geographic range extends as far north as Richmond and as far south as Alameda. “The only (potential) site we’re sure of is the Richmond Field Station, which is owned by the University of California,” he said.
Other important attributes include affordability, accessibility and proximity to public transportation, good amenities and community support.
Once the size and other requirements are finalized, the Lab plans to issue a Request for Proposals, likely in December. “We’ll see what proposals we get, whittle those down to two to four by the end of winter and make a final selection by the end of next summer,” Krupnick said.
Following environmental review, financing, design and construction, and approvals from the University of California and the Department of Energy, if everything goes as planned, occupancy could begin in 2015, Krupnick said.
Community members expressed strong support for a secondary campus for Berkeley Lab. Some made suggestions, such as making sure it is well integrated with the surrounding community.
Sitting on 200 acres, Berkeley Lab is one of the smallest of the Department of Energy laboratories in the country. By comparison, Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee sits on 4,470 acres, Brookhaven National Laboratory in New York on 5,320 acres and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Washington on 600 acres.
- LBNL Community Advisory Group website, with agendas and summaries of all past meetings and other documents and relevant links
- LBNL Community Relations website, with links to construction info, Lab tours and Lab documents and reports of community interest
Lawrence Berkeley Lab seeks second campus
Sep 16th, 2010
by Lance Knobel.
UC's Richmond Field Station, shown in brown
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory seems to Berkeleyans to sprawl over the hills above the university. But with only 200 acres, the lab finds itself pressed for space. Most of the 4,200 employees are on the site in the Berkeley hills, but about 20% are at the Joint BioEnergy Institute in Emeryville, the Joint Genome Institute in Walnut Creek, the National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center in Oakland or the Life Sciences Division in West Berkeley.
LBL plans to issue a Request for Proposals for a full second campus for the lab, which would consolidate the minor sites and provide room for expansion. The new site will be within 20 minutes of the main campus in the hills, which means it could be anywhere from Richmond in the north to Alameda in the south. The only certain site to be evaluated is the Richmond Field Station, which is owned by the University of California, which operates the lab under contract from the Department of Energy.
The lab’s COO, Jim Krupnick, told a meeting of the Community Advisory Group (CAG) this week that the lab was “still growing”. “We’re still getting new funding for research programs, such as the Solar Energy Research Center and the User Testbed Facility [for research on energy-efficient buildings],” Krupnick said.
In addition to the need for more space, Krupnick said the lab wanted to foster better collaboration and cross-disciplinary research, which a rationalization of sites could assist. Krupnick said the second site would need to be expandable to 750,000 to 2 million gross square feet. This could eventually double the Lab’s current footprint at its main site, which is about 1.8 million square feet.
Krupnick told the CAG that the plan was to evaluate responses to the RFP, narrow the list to two to four site by the end of the winter and make a final selection next summer. Following environmental review, financing, design and construction, and approvals from the University of California and the Department of Energy, if everything goes as planned, occupancy could begin in 2015, Krupnick said.
LBL’s 200 acres make it one of the smallest national laboratories. Tennessee’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory sits on 4,470 acres and Brookhaven National Laboratory in New York has 5,320 acres.
Alameda Point hopes to attract Berkeley lab campus
by Janet Levaux
Posted: 09/02/2010 01:23:48 PM PDT
Updated: 09/02/2010 01:55:16 PM PDT
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory is looking for more space, and Alameda Point could be in the running for its second campus.
The city of Alameda hosted a visit of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory staff recently and then sent a letter in late August to thank the group for visiting Alameda Point and to share details about several airplane hangars on the former naval air station, the amount of energy that can be supplied to the area and other information.
Now, Alameda officials have to sit tight and hope that the city gets asked to submit a formal proposal for the lab's second campus. City staff members expect other nearby cities, such as Emeryville and Richmond, to be potential rivals.
"We are interested in doing a request for site (proposal), though we don't yet know the criteria," said Jennifer Ott, deputy city manager. "Our intention is to respond to such a request, when the formal request is out."
The laboratory, which includes six facilities, reportedly is planning to consolidate some of its operations. Currently, it has facilities in Berkeley, Emeryville and Walnut Creek.
City Councilman Doug deHaan described the city's efforts to attract Berkeley lab to Alameda Point on Aug. 26 at a community meeting on the former naval air station. He said he "feels confident that we have the attributes they are looking for," including some 1.2 million square feet of space.
The Department of Energy operates the Berkeley lab, which employs 3,915 staff members, about one-third of whom are scientists. Its fiscal 2010 budget is estimated at $774 million, including $122 million in stimulus funding from the federal government.
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory focuses on scientific research and does not engage in defense work like Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.
According to the laboratory, the facilities' overall impact on the Bay Area is valued at about $500 million a year in direct economic spending and $690 million in indirect economic spending.
"This could be a super project for us," said deHaan.