Tue, 04/12/2016 - 10:22am

The Land
April 12, 2016


Over the past nearly two years, there has been enormous activity, a burst of construction, close to the laboratory. For example we see the opening of the retail center dubbed Market Place@Tech Center and a flurry of other building very close to the laboratory.

What is going on? What does this mean for the lab? What does this mean for the electron-ion collider? These are a few of the questions that I am sure you have been asking yourselves, and they are certainly questions asked in various presentations to the Users Group and at All Hands meetings. In this note, I will try to provide an abridged response.

A little background is perhaps useful. Some states have used their public universities as their agents.   In the 1960s, the Commonwealth entered into a partnership with NASA to establish the Virginia Associated Research Campus.  The College of William and Mary managed the site during VARC operations and after its closure.  William and Mary was a founding member of SURA, and the VARC campus was leased to SURA for $1/year in support of its bid for CEBAF.  In the following years, one portion of the campus was transferred to the William and Mary Foundation and another to the City to build the ARC building.  The land immediately surrounding the VARC building was subleased by SURA at no charge to the Department of Energy. 

Before Jefferson Lab was created, a plan for the siting was required.  The City gave SURA additional parcels of land to be used in its proposal to the Department of Energy to build CEBAF.  The proposal succeeded and so we refer to some of the land, most of it in fact, as DOE owned. However, around the edges, things are complicated. Not all the land given to SURA was immediately needed by the DOE, so SURA retained it for future Jefferson Lab expansion.  SURA transferred some of that land to DOE for construction of Hall D; on another portion sits the Residence Facility.

Northeast of Hogan, the land is owned by the Newport News city school district and used as its Service Center for Operations and Transport, the S.C.O.T.

A few years ago, there was some interest in developing the property transferred to the William and Mary Foundation, which did not materialize.  After a pause, that land was subsequently purchased, and the buyer graciously sent a letter to the Department of Energy indicating the intent to hold the land so as to assure the potential development of Jefferson Lab. But time never stands still. A couple of years later, discussions were reopened about the potential of a retail development in that 43 acres and an associated development, by the Virginia Tech Foundation, devoted to high-tech entrepreneurial ventures.  In that context, we were asked to discuss what land would really be needed for an expansion of Jefferson Lab. By then, the design for our version of an electron-ion collider had assumed the shape of a figure eight. We used that design as the basis for definition of expansion needs for the laboratory. The oval, which emerged, requires about 17 acres of land, some of which is currently associated with the SCOT.

Detailed negotiations among the stakeholders have now reached complete agreement. As part of the agreement, the City will move the SCOT to make land available for both an expansion of the lab and for the Virginia Tech Foundation development.  SURA’s lease (and DOE’s sublease) for the SSC (VARC building) and the land surrounding it will ensure the basic operational needs of the existing Jefferson Lab scope.  The Virginia Tech Foundation will buy the triangular parcel between the SSC and Hogan to construct its first building.  In this respect, an agreement is emerging to share parking facilities on the SSC parcel between the various building users.

Finally, with a view to the future for which we hope, the City and SURA have signed a Memorandum of Agreement, which promises the availability of the aforementioned 17 acres for expansion of Jefferson Lab when the need arises.

As I indicated, this is an abridged version of the story. With the several entities from Commonwealth to City, developers and DOE, the players have been numerous. Jerry Draayer and Russell Moy from SURA, and Rusty Sprouse from Jefferson Lab have spent many an hour engaged in discussions.  In the end, the result is a good one; we believe that the agreements can support any ambitions Jefferson Lab might have in the next couple of decades.

The land is secured!