Need for Increased Storage Space Leads to New Project

  • an aerial map showing future location of the Laydown Yard on the Southeast end of the CEBAF accelerator sire

Jefferson Lab is creating new storage areas for large-scale scientific and facilities equipment with $2.25 million in Inflation Reduction Act funding

NEWPORT NEWS, VA – A new project gearing up at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility will construct a new facility for equipment and materials. The Laydown Yard Expansion project has received $2.25 million in Inflation Reduction Act funding to provide approximately 100,000 square feet of outside storage space. The new storage space will help accommodate large experimental assemblies and support structures, as well as equipment for future experiments and operations.

According to Joel Dolbeck, who is the project director, the project will provide additional space to accommodate future growth. The new laydown yard can be thought of as an extension of the current Central Materials Storage Area (CMSA). The expansion project will roughly double the current size of the CMSA and will improve the management of the lab’s materials storage.

Bowman, Foster & Associates, an architectural/engineering firm, partnered with Jefferson Lab staff to create a concept design for the expansion project. Dolbeck says the newly designed laydown yard will be similar in design to the existing CMSA.

What we envisioned is a graveled, fenced-in area where we could use trucks to transport heavy equipment and store it in designated areas. We would have perimeter lighting, as well. It would look very similar to how the current CMSA is set up. At the proposed site, we already have a small laydown area, and we are looking to expand it two to three times the size,” he explained.  

The construction budget for the project is estimated to be around $1.5 million, with $2.25 million granted through IRA funding. The remaining $750,000 is budgeted for design, labor, contract preparation, site studies and administrative expenses. The expansion is expected to take around two years to complete, with six months of construction.

Dolbeck says although there are challenges facing the project, there is also an opportunity to reduce the lab’s environmental impact.

Prior to construction, the lab’s Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan will need to be updated and approved. In addition, a storm water permit from the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality will also need to be approved.

The goal would be to get the design completed this year and issue a construction project Request for Proposal (RFP) in FY23 with an award in FY24,” he said.

The development of the expansion project coincides with the $3.9 million Cooling Tower Water Reuse project that is already in development at Jefferson Lab. This project will re-use storm water runoff. Displaced runoff from the Laydown Expansion project will be diverted to a new retention pond, which will be located south of Jefferson Lab’s CEBAF accelerator.

The creation of this additional retention pond will also aid in the alleviation of flooding on the west side of the facility. In addition, the retention pond could become a renewable resource for water used to cool some accelerator components via the evaporative cooling towers currently in use.

“This lab uses about 66 million gallons of water annually, which is potable water, or water that we buy from the city that you could drink. We evaporate ~90% of that water through cooling towers to help cool the equipment that creates the energy to send the electrons around the accelerator,” Dolbeck said.

Therefore, the creation of this secondary retention pond will not only protect campus facilities from flooding, but it may also provide water as a renewable resource for cooling components.

The lab has received $76.5 million in total funding from President Joe Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act. The funding will enable the lab to build and renovate facilities for experiments and create new job opportunities. In addition, this funding is being incorporated into an integrated plan that aligns with the Jefferson lab campus planning effort and reflects the lab’s commitment to responsible stewardship of resources.

Further Reading
Inflation Reduction Act Funding Moves Key Jefferson Lab Projects Forward
Fact Sheet: Inflation Reduction Act Supporting the Future of DOE Science

By Skyler Tolzien-Orr

Contact: Kandice Carter, Jefferson Lab Communications Office,


Jefferson Science Associates, LLC, manages and operates the Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility, or Jefferson Lab, for the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Science. JSA is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Southeastern Universities Research Association, Inc. (SURA).

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