By Lee Roberts
OAK RIDGE, Tenn. (Nov. 20, 2017) – Distinguished officials dedicated the Construction Support Building today at the U.S. Department of Energy Y-12 National Security Complex, the first structure completed in support of the Uranium Processing Facility project.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District team worked closely with the contractor, Korte Construction Company, headquartered in Highland, Illinois, to construct the three-story, 64,800-square-foot building, which is a combination of office and warehouse space for more than 300 personnel.
Col. Paul Kremer, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Great Lakes and Ohio River Division acting commander, participated in the ribbon cutting and lauded the Nashville District for efficiently delivering project and construction support, and for finishing the project on time and $5 million under budget.
“Today is another great milestone for the Department of Energy’s Uranium Processing Facility. It is a great opportunity to participate and to join with the NNSA, our valued customer and partner, to recognize the completion of this important project,” Kremer said. “I want to congratulate our Resident Engineer Office and team here at Oak Ridge for the great work supporting this project, and for facilitating our great partnership with DOE.”
Congressman Chuck Fleischmann, representing Tennessee’s 3rd District, which includes Oak Ridge, attended the event and thanked the Corps of Engineers for doing an exemplary job on the construction support building and on the Chickamauga Lock Replacement Project on the Tennessee River, which is also in the district he represents.
“I’m just here today to say thank you… you’re doing a great job with the tax payers’ dollars,” Fleischmann said. “What we are doing here ladies and gentlemen is patriotism. The workers are incredible. What an outstanding team.”
Dan Brouillette, deputy secretary of the U.S. Department of Energy, took a tour of the building that the UPF project will replace, an aging monument of a past era that really underscores the need for a new 21st century uranium infrastructure.
“I’m really thrilled to see for myself how you’ve taken the critical steps toward meeting that need, the nation’s need, through your progress on this UPF project,” Brouillette said.
Brouillette pointed out that the Corps of Engineers previously completed the site preparedness project with a cost savings of $20 million.
“So it made perfect sense to partner again with the Army Corps on the UPF’s second sub project, which we also expect to come under budget next spring,” Brouillette said. “Today we celebrate the major scope of work within that sub project, and that’s the Construction Support Building.”
The new building is expected to improve oversight of the continued work on the UPF project and with providing safe and quality construction.
Retired Air Force Lt. Gen. Frank G. Klotz, DOE undersecretary for Nuclear Security and National Nuclear Security Administration administrator, said he couldn’t be more proud of the progress made by the UPF project team, especially the construction support building, which represents another significant step in that great success.
“Moving in is a testament to our new improved project management business model, and the fact that it is paying off with rigor and discipline that we bring to how we now do major construction projects,” Klotz said.
Klotz added that the UPF project team has built great partnerships with the Corps of Engineers, Tennessee Valley Authority and others to take advantage of their core strengths.
Prior to the ribbon cutting, officials toured the facility and Lt. Col. Cullen Jones, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District commander, briefed Brouillette on the features of the building and initiatives that make the facility energy efficient.
“We used low volatile organic compound emitting materials, resulting in the lack of a new office smell, and the facility takes advantage of ambient daylight on each floor,” Jones said. He also explained that the building is equipped with solar panels and geothermal wells that provide energy benefits, with over $2 million projected in life cycle savings.
With the environmental initiatives, the construction support building will be LEED Gold certified, the first at the Y-12 project. LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. LEED certification means healthier, more productive places, reduced stress on the environment by encouraging energy and resource-efficient buildings, and decreased utility costs. LEED Gold is determined by fulfilling credits and points based on materials used that effect human health and the environment, and other factors such as water efficiency.
Korte Construction broke ground on the building in August 2016. Officials thanked Todd Korte, president, during the ceremony for the company’s dedication on the project.
Kremer stressed that the Corps of Engineers is pleased to meet the challenges of this project, to turn over the completed building, and is excited to continue its partnership with DOE at Oak Ridge.
“We awarded a contract in September to build the UPF mechanical electrical building on-site warehouse. Additional construction contracts will be awarded in 2018 for the Y-12 fire station and emergency operation center, important steps in replacing the aging infrastructure with new facilities that meet today’s building codes and standards, and incorporate new technologies,” Kremer said.
The Nashville District completed site preparation work for the Bear Creek Road and bridge construction and potable waterline relocation in March 2015, and has provided support for about a dozen other projects in the past decade.