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Vol. LVII, No. 18
September 9, 2005

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New NIH Gateway Center To Open In Summer 2007

On the front page...

Visitors to NIH's main campus can expect a new kind of welcome, come summer 2007. That's the projected completion date for the 139,440-square-foot Gateway Center being built beside the Medical Center Metro station at the South Dr. entrance to campus from Rockville Pike.

Three structures make up the facility: a 2-level visitor center (Bldg. 66) for identifying and orienting campus guests, a visitor vehicle inspection station (Bldg. 66A) and a 2-level, 350-slot underground parking lot called multi-level parking garage 11 (MLP-11). In addition, a new roadway off southbound Rockville Pike will be constructed for visitor vehicles. They will use the road to enter or exit the parking garage, or, after screening, to gain access to areas within the perimeter fence via the campus's main road, Center Drive,


A new NIH Gateway Center is under construction near the Medical Center Metro Station.  

Under way since July, construction on the gateway has picked up speed in the last few weeks with the fencing-off of affected areas adjacent to the East Child Care Center and the Metro station. Also, the stairwell and pedestrian paths leading through campus from the Metro station to the Natcher Bldg., the National Library of Medicine and other NIH buildings south and west are now closed to pedestrians, due to the project.

A new pedestrian pathway beginning near the temporary Gateway trailer connects existing pathways leading to Natcher, NLM and nearby buildings. Also, the sidewalk parallel to Rockville Pike remains open to pedestrians and is the quickest path by foot from the Metro station to points south. Various NIH shuttles are also available to transport passengers via campus roads, with the new "Campus Limited" shuttle offering the most direct ride to Natcher and NLM from Metro.

Gateway construction is being managed by Shahriar Saleh, a project officer in the Office of Research Facilities Development and Operations.

A rendering of the new NIH Gateway Center shows the visitor vehicle inspection station (l) and a visitor center where campus guests will obtain badges.

Currently, pedestrians entering campus without valid NIH badges are screened at one of two temporary trailers located at the Metro station or on Old Georgetown Rd. at South Dr. Working with the perimeter security system ("the fence"), the new Gateway Center will serve as a first stop for all non-patient visitors, offering information about NIH's mission and research as well as maps, shuttle schedules and other orientation materials for navigating the campus.

Blending into the sloped landscape alongside the walkway and bus shelters at the Metro station, the upper level of the stand-alone center will feature a terrace where pedestrians can enter the facility and a lobby. The lower level is slated to have several rest rooms, exits at the shuttle bus platform as well as ample waiting space for dozens of visitors. MLP-11, also accessible from the new service road off of Rockville Pike, will offer the only NIH visitor parking outside of the fence. Visitor vehicles parking in the garage will not require inspection.

The current visitor vehicle entrance at the Metro station
Construction of the new Gateway Center is under way.

"The parking garage is considered a visitor parking garage," said Tom Hayden, director of the Division of Travel and Transportation Services in NIH's Office of Research Services. "Visitors may park in the garage and then go through the Gateway Center. Once through the Gateway Center, they may then use the NIH Shuttle service to travel to the various buildings on campus. The visitor parking garage will also be a fee-for-parking garage. Fees will be at our current hourly rate or [not-to-exceed] $12 daily," based on rates set by the General Services Administration.

Hayden added that except for the patient/patient-visitor areas, some visitor parking throughout the campus will revert back to employee parking. "Some visitor parking must remain throughout the campus for such things as short term deliveries, repair vehicles, etc.," he explained. "These internal visitor spaces will be metered parking spaces. Patient/patient-visitor parking will remain free with appropriate validation."

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