The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in Laurel, Md., welcomed Howard County officials and representatives from the construction industry on March 9 to break ground for what will be the Laboratory's largest building.
"We're not just breaking ground for a new building," Ruth Nimmo, APL's assistant director for operations, told a group of about 50 guests. "We're creating a place where new technology will bloom, where commands will be sent to spacecraft billions of miles away, and where strategic thinkers will plan military scenarios to keep our nation safe."
APL Director Richard Roca thanked those in the public sector who have supported the Laboratory's efforts over the decades, and noted the Lab's strong partnership with Howard County. The facility upgrades at APL come at an important juncture for Lab staff, he said. "The people who will occupy this building are working in a challenging time in our country's history. This will help them as they meet the sobering challenges our country faces."
Joining in the groundbreaking festivities was Howard County Executive Ken Ulman, who said, "The work that APL does is a truly important part of our nation." He pledged that Howard County will continue to work closely with the Laboratory—Howard County's largest private employer—adding, "Johns Hopkins is such a major player in this county—in the business community, in education, and in technology transfer."
Set to open in 2009, the $62-million, five-story, 261,600-square-foot building will be a steel frame and concrete structure with stone, brick and glass exterior. It will house approximately 500 of APL's existing staff members and draw from seven Laboratory departments. The building will be located centrally on the nearly 400-acre campus and will replace many obsolete facilities in older buildings.
Among the facilities planned for the new building are updated research laboratories, a mission operations center where up to three space exploration missions can be commanded at once, and modeling-and-simulation facilities where the Navy's next-generation missile combat systems can be developed. The building will accommodate other areas of research as well, such as information management development and combat casualty care communications. APL mail services will also take up more modern, centrally located quarters with enhanced security and efficiency.
The Applied Physics Laboratory, one of 10 divisions of The Johns Hopkins University, moved to Howard County in 1954 from Silver Spring, Md., where it opened its doors in 1942. APL has approximately 4,000 staff members and more than 50 major buildings on its 399-acre campus.
Click on the thumbnail
image for a larger version.