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For Immediate Release
August 12, 2009
Media Contact
Kristi Marren
(443) 778-6268 or (240) 228-6268

JHU Applied Physics Lab Breaks Ground on Building for Space Department

The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL), in Laurel, Md., along with U.S. Congressional members, Howard County officials and representatives from the construction industry, broke ground, August 7, for what will be the Laboratory's new Space Department building.

"Getting the majority of our staff in one location, convenient to our outside customers and scientific colleagues, will greatly increase the efficiency of our operations," says John Sommerer, acting head of APL's Space Department. He said the new building will provide "close integration of space scientists with engineers, which has been difficult with the department distributed amongst more than 20 different buildings."

"The federal government and Johns Hopkins have built a strong partnership over the past seven decades, relying on Hopkins for substantive contributions in the nation's defense, and in its quest to understand and master space and learn how to use it for the betterment of all humanity," says APL Director Richard Roca. "The latest example of Hopkins' commitment to this role is Building 200."

"I think a hallmark of APL is it's not just a place that develops exciting new technologies to support us in space and support the safety and security of our country, but it imparts a technological wisdom to society," says Congressman John Sarbanes of Maryland's 3rd Congressional District. "It's exciting to see this new building going up because it's going to be a very important resource for the APL campus and the professionals who serve here."

Set to open in mid-2011, the $60-million, 5-story, 200,000 gross-square-foot building, known as Building 200, will sit on a 35-acre site on Johns Hopkins Road, located directly across the street from APL's main entrance. It will include office space and technical facilities for approximately 550 scientists, engineers and support staff who contribute to the Space Department's mission of creating innovative space systems that achieve national objectives for NASA and space-related Defense Department missions.

Hanging inside its 2-story lobby will be models of APL-built spacecraft. A "grab-and-go" cafeteria, located on the first floor, will have indoor and outdoor seating for 100 people. The building's 100-seat conference room will accommodate many technical meetings attended by researchers from around the world. The building will feature more than 80 technical facilities and collaboration spaces for research and development activities, including laboratories for flight-certified hardware that will be electrostatic discharge compliant.

The building was designed with many environmentally friendly or "green" features, including a reflective roof, low-flow water fixtures and energy-saver lighting. Additionally, APL has applied for the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design's (LEED) "gold" certification (the third highest of four certification levels). Overseen by the U.S. Green Building Council, LEED is a third-party certification program for the design, construction and operation of high-performance green buildings.

One of the Johns Hopkins University's 10 divisions, APL moved to Howard County in 1954 from Silver Spring, Md., where it opened its doors in 1942. APL has approximately 4,500 staff members who occupy 32 buildings on APL's 399-acre main campus and six leased buildings on its Montpelier Research Park campus.


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Building 200 Courtyard Elevation

Building 200 Lobby

Breaking ground

The Applied Physics Laboratory, a division of The Johns Hopkins University, meets critical national challenges through the innovative application of science and technology. For more information, visit