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The newspaper of The Johns Hopkins University March 19, 2007 | Vol. 36 No. 26
Applied Physics Lab Breaks Ground for Largest Building

Participating in the groundbreaking activities for APL's newest building are Mary Kay Sigaty, Howard County Council; Rich Roca, APL director; Ken Ulman, Howard County executive; Calvin Ball, Howard County Council; and Ken Jones, APL building construction manager.
Photo by Applied Physics Laboratory

By Helen Worth
Applied Physics Laboratory

Johns Hopkins' Applied Physics Laboratory welcomed Howard County officials and representatives from the construction industry on March 9 to break ground for what will be the largest of the Laboratory's more than 50 major buildings.

"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 Rich 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, with approximately 4,000 employees — 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 existing staff members drawn from seven 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 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 also will accommodate other areas of research, such as information management development and combat casualty care communications, and mail services will take up more modern, centrally located quarters with enhanced security and efficiency.


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