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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
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."