Sandia LabNews

MESA gets DOE go-ahead to construct all buildings

MESA gets DOE go-ahead to construct all buildings

It’s early to call the MESA project a success, since it hasn’t yet been built. But in the most recent climax to a remarkably orderly series of review-and-approval steps dating back four years, the Sandia MESA team now has received official approval from DOE to begin construction of its Microfab, Microlab, and Weapons Integration Facility (WIF) — the entire set of buildings that constitute MESA proper.

"We turned in our engineering design last Nov. 14 and requested permission to start main construction," says Don Cook (1900), director of the MESA center. "I thought we’d get permission to start one building and have to come back later for the rest."

Sandia had been authorized to spend $113 million — enough to begin construction on the Microfab and Microlab — but the ‘okay’ to begin all buildings was a bonus.

"We haven’t committed on placing a construction contract for WIF since we don’t have ’04 money yet, but we hope to place the contract in June ’04," Don says.

The project already has placed a construction contract for a temporary road, east of Hardin, to ease traffic around the construction site. The construction contract for the Microfab begins in May, and the Microlab in September, of this year.

Meanwhile, after a slow start, demand for space for personnel and equipment in the mock-up WIF building, located in Research Park outside the Eubank Gate (Lab News, March 7), "has far exceeded our ability to house them," says Don. "The desire of people to work with analysts, weapons designers, and microtechnologists in a new way, with lowered organizational boundaries, has become intriguing for Sandians."

Sandia’s biggest construction project ever, MESA is expected to fashion a new, possibly more effective way of working together for researchers under its wing. Among the $462.5 million project’s goals is to hasten the day when microstructures perform effectively in high-surety situations.

MESA awards contract

Sandia awarded the MESA MicroFab construction contract this week to M.A. Mortenson — Advanced Technologies Group (ATG), a Tempe, Ariz., based company, for $54,174,000. The bid was full and open competition, advertised nationally in Federal Business Opportunities, with six proposals received. Mortenson was determined to be the best value after being ranked high technical and offering the low price. Mortenson does not have a local office in Albuquerque but has spent significant time and effort developing a subcontracting plan focusing on both small and New Mexico business opportunities. Mortenson intends to subcontract 82 percent ($44,422,680) to New Mexico based businesses and 30 percent ($16,252,200) to small businesses including disadvantaged, Hub Zone, and woman-owned firms.