California campus changes ahead

By Michael Ellis Langley

Photography By Randy Wong

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Office and lab space reconsidered as staff, mission expand

aerial view of California campus
SANDIA/CALIFORNIA — Aerial view of Sandia’s Livermore, California, campus.

It is easy to see that the Sandia/California campus is in a state of evolution. An unprecedented spate of hiring to achieve mission goals means the space at the Livermore campus must be reevaluated with an eye to the future.

As staffing increases, planners and managers must confront the physical limits of offices and lab space, sewage and electrical capacity and demand for digital infrastructure that are inherent in the current site layout.

“The rate at which new people are coming onboard is far more than in years past,” said manager Devon Powers, “so we have to make changes throughout the site to accommodate everyone responsible with making sure we are successful in our mission.”

Using the cooperation being modeled by Sandia’s Integrated Service Delivery initiative, the California site operations and energy and homeland security programs came together to help figure out how best to answer the challenges of change.

Office space reevaluation

Devon said that Sandia/California plans to add hundreds more employees in the coming years, which means preparing for them now.

In some existing buildings, this may mean shared spaces and upgrading electrical, heating and cooling and network infrastructures.

“There’s a lot of support that we have to provide to add more people to any space,” Devon said. “It’s not just adding desks to offices. We want to keep all the functionality and create workflow efficiencies where we can.”

Devon added that the boundaries of Livermore’s restricted zone, including which buildings fall inside that zone, may change
as well.

“We’re taking best advantage of the footprint that already exists,” he said. “So that the classified work that we do on behalf of the American people can continue with as little interruption as possible.”

Devon also pointed out that senior management is looking into leasing off-site property — perhaps as early as next year — and trying to figure out which functions could be temporarily located there to free up space while the campus
is expanded.

“We are in the planning stages of adding new buildings and facilities on campus,” he said.

Lab space considerations

Some labs are also undergoing repurposing as the W80-4 work is renewed and as teams are forming to work on the W87-1 weapons systems.

“We have to use our specialized facilities strategically,” Devon said. “In order to do that, we’ve put together a very aggressive and comprehensive program to look critically at lab space. We know this is going to be disruptive for some of our research programs.

“Our goal is to get all of our teams what they need with the space we have available,” he said. “As we are able to build out and grow, we will continue to partner with the technical line to ensure they have what they need to execute Sandia’s critical national security mission.”

Investing in infrastructure

Expansion seems to be on the horizon.

“We are getting strong support for our infrastructure from NNSA,” Devon said. “They have invested in a new sewer system and in water and power infrastructure. We are getting a new data center, and there are plans for other buildings on campus down the line.”

The funding for some of that is already secured for the next couple of years.

Devon said that despite the temporary inconveniences of relocation, construction or sharing space, teams from every group are working together to develop integrated solutions that will enable Sandia/California to achieve all of its objectives.

“Our country’s asking us to do a lot, and we’re responding and doing what it takes to make best use of the existing campus that we have as we plan for the future,” Devon said. “We will get through the temporary disruptions the same way that we have achieved so much already — together.”