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MSUs FRIB: New building wins approval
Posted: October 26, 2012 - 4:40 PM
EAST LANSING — Michigan State University’s leaders have approved plans for a new building at its National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory, a high bay that will house assembly and testing of the technologies that will go into the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams and further the university’s ambitions to become a supplier of superconducting radio-frequency components for other accelerator facilities.
FRIB project manager Thomas Glasmacher said MSU is “leveraging FRIB to bring together folks from different departments so we become a center of the superconducting RF technology.”
“With this high bay we have the opportunity now to help the construction of FRIB,” he said. “We also have space for researchers who can do research on superconducting RF for other accelerators in the country and in the world.”
At $15.5 million and 27,000 square feet, the building is larger than MSU had originally planned. Fred Poston, the university’s vice president for finance and operations, said the administration had “challenged the FRIB project to think also in terms of upgrades,” wanting the facility to be large enough to accommodate future iterations of the project.
As part of the project, MSU plans to close a portion of Bogue Street near Wilson Road, leaving a broad walkway that can be opened to traffic under special circumstances.
Construction is not slated to begin until March, at which point MSU presumably will know how FRIB fared in this year’s federal budget.
Comments from U.S. Department of Energy officials raised concerns earlier this year about the federal government’s commitment to the $680 million nuclear science research project, as did the DOE’s request that its Nuclear Science Advisory Committee re-evaluate the country's nuclear physics research priorities.
But those concerns have been allayed. DOE officials have allowed MSU to begin putting in pilings for an earth retention system and encouraged the university to go forward with approval of $55 million in construction work, offering to pay the cost of canceling those contracts if necessary.
“What we know is that, in talking with folks at the Department of Energy and talking with the White House and talking with congressional folks on both sides of the aisle, FRIB remains one of the highest priorities for science,” MSU President Lou Anna Simon said.
“A change in administration could affect that,” she added, “but we understand that that change of administration, if it were to change, understands that FRIB is a priority.”