Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory Seeks Second Campus

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Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory released an invitation Monday to cities and organizations interested in having the lab's second campus in their limits to apply for the opportunity.

The Request for Qualifications lists 17 attributes that a potential campus should have to the maximum degree, including aesthetic factors such as a "beautiful environment," as well as other aspects such as distance from sources of vibration that could interfere with the delicate science that occurs within the lab.

The lab expressed interest in expanding into a second campus as far back as September and, according to lab spokesperson Dan Krotz, has been contacted by a number of interested parties since then.

Berkeley Lab currently leases property in Berkeley, Emeryville and Walnut Creek to house existing programs, including the Joint Genome Institute, the Joint BioEnergy Institute and the Life Sciences Lab, Krotz said in an e-mail. According to the request, the 480,000 gross square feet of off-campus facilities would be consolidated into a two million gross square foot second campus.

Not only would a second campus improve communication among currently dispersed facilities and institutes, but it would also allow for "growth of existing programs" and "new initiatives," according to the request.

The request states that one requirement for the new campus is that it must be no more than 20 to 25 minutes from the main gate of the lab's main campus, which is located in the hills above the UC Berkeley campus.

A few cities, including Alameda and Richmond, have expressed interest in hosting the second campus. But according to the request, a site in Richmond already owned by the university is ranked high and will be a basis for comparison for the other submissions.

"The Richmond Field Station is a strong contender," Krotz said in the e-mail. "The RFS does well in a number of areas and has the development capacity needed to consolidate scientific programs already off-site and to accommodate future growth to mid-century and beyond. But we expect that other strong options will emerge."

Submissions are due March 4, after which lab officials will be able to form a short list of potential sites, which they hope to release in April. According to an approximate schedule set forth in the report, the selected site will be announced in June and construction will begin in July 2013.

Although it is unlikely that any one site will fulfill all 17 attributes, Krotz said a few particular characteristics are necessary for the selected site.

"Ultimately, the chosen site will best allow Berkeley Lab to consolidate scientific programs already off-site and to accommodate future growth to mid-century and beyond," he said in the e-mail.

Tags: LAWRENCE BERKELEY NATIONAL LABRATORY, JOINT BIOENERGY INSTITUTE, JOINT GENOME INSTITUTE, UC BERKELEY, LAB SPOKESPERSON DAN KROTZ, LIFE SCIENCES LAB


Claire Perlman is the lead research and ideas reporter. Contact her at [email protected]



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