Sandia LabNews

Cutting-edge complex

Sandia ushers in new era of emergency preparedness

Image of eoc
FRESH CUT — Sandia hosted a ribbon cutting Aug. 7 for its new Emergency Operations Center. Left to right are Sandia Environment, Safety & Health Director David Stuhan, Sandia Chief Operations Officer and Deputy Labs Director David Gibson, Labs Director James Peery, Under Secretary for Nuclear Security and NNSA Administrator Jill Hruby, New Mexico’s U.S. Rep. Melanie Stansbury, NNSA Sandia Field Office Manager Daryl Hauck and NNSA Infrastructure Modernization Division Acting Director Amanda Tapia-Pittman. (Photo by Craig Fritz)

Sandia opened the doors Aug. 7 to its new, cutting-edge Emergency Operations Center aimed at enhancing incident management coordination and communications for the workforce and the community in the event of a crisis.

The $42.5 million, 25,000-square-foot facility, located on Kirtland Air Force Base, is scheduled for full operations by early 2024. It will house the NNSA and Sandia emergency management staff offices, along with the 24/7 Emergency Management Communications Center. This center will feature incident-management and coordination spaces, as well as multipurpose training rooms. The construction project was awarded to Summit Construction of Albuquerque.

Emergency Operations Center functions

Functions of the center include round-the-clock coverage by the Labs’ emergency management specialists. The new facility is enhanced capabilities to collect, analyze and share incident information with internal and external emergency response organizations, such as Kirtland Fire Emergency Services, Sandia’s medical clinic or the University of New Mexico Hospital.

The new center will be home to Sandia’s emergency management organization overseeing daily operations. Additionally, the center will provide 24/7 support for emergency and nonemergency calls, with space for three 911 call stations, two nonemergency call stations and one Sandia duty officer station.

The facility boasts redundant mechanical and electrical systems, a backup generator, showers, a kitchen with a pantry, a dining area and temporary sleeping areas, ensuring it can operate independently for at least 72 hours.

Improvements with new center

The new facility provides numerous improvements to support Sandia’s emergency management operations and response capabilities. Examples include:

Image of eoc2
STYLISH STOREFRONT — Sandia’s new Emergency Operations Center will house NNSA and Labs emergency management staff offices. (Photo by Lonnie Anderson)
  • Larger, more flexible space.
  • More area for a comprehensive center structure that aligns with the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s National Incident Management System.
  • Accommodations for up to 102 center staff — 62 in the main area and 40 in an overflow area — compared to the 18-staff capacity of the current location.
  • An advanced situation center, video walls and monitors to share a common operating picture throughout the center.
  • Advanced multipurpose training room with the latest technology.

NNSA’s construction pilot project

Sandia’s new Emergency Operations Center is supported by NNSA’s Enhanced Minor Construction and Commercial Practices initiative and is the fourth of four initial projects in the pilot program. This initiative allows the acquisition of simple, non-nuclear facilities following commercial best practices within NNSA requirements. The streamlined acquisition and execution processes under the program accelerate delivery and increase buying power for commercial-like construction.

With the new center, Sandia reinforces its commitment to maintaining a robust emergency response system that safeguards its workforce, the community and the critical work carried out at the Labs.

From the podium

Jill Hruby, undersecretary for nuclear security and NNSA administrator

Image of eoc3
(Photo by Craig Fritz)

“The new Emergency Operations Center is the last of four pilot projects supported by NNSA’s Enhancement Partner, Construction and Commercial Practices (program). This pilot program presents an opportunity to streamline construction and requirements using approaches common in commercial construction. This new facility represents our commitment to a modern enterprise capable of meeting our mission requirements and giving our workforce the facilities they deserve. It is not buildings that make our mission a success. It’s people. So, for those of you that are going to be in this building, thank you.” 

David Gibson, chief operations officer and deputy Labs director

Image of eoc4
(Photo by Craig Fritz)

“This new expanded facility has a ton of new technology that allows us to really align our EOC capabilities with the national standards that exist for this important functional area. The center has three 911 call stations and two nonemergency call stations that will be used to monitor activities across the Laboratories. This allows us to share important information with collaborators and stakeholders across the enterprise and the broader community here. This is a very important facility as a symbol of our commitment to the safety and health of everyone.”

Melanie Stansbury, U.S. representative, New Mexico 1st Congressional District

Image of eoc5
(Photo by Craig Fritz)

“This facility will help ensure safety and peace of mind so that our scientists, engineers and service members can do their jobs. You are on the edges of scientific discovery, and you are ensuring our national security, not only here in the United States, but abroad. So, I want to say thank you for your service, whether you’re in the sciences, engineering, you’re on the front lines as a member of our national security apparatus, whether you’re a member of the armed forces or the National Guard or you are a support person who helps make everything that happens on this campus possible.”

David Stuhan, Sandia Environment, Safety and Health director and chief of safety

Image of eoc6
(Photo by Craig Fritz)

“This new state-of-the art facility is a symbol of the importance of being prepared and to really have the capacity and capability to respond to all hazards and threats. This facility truly reflects the Laboratories’ commitment to protect our workforce, the public, property and the environment. And this facility will operate as the guardian for our national security mission here at Sandia.”

Recent articles by Luke Frank