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Vol. LIX, No. 18
September 7, 2007
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Feedback

You ask the questions. We root out the answers.Feedback lets NIH’ers post anonymous queries at www.nih.gov/nihrecord/index.htm (click on the Feedback icon). The Record will make every effort to track down responses from those in the know.

Feedback: Are there plans to remove the vehicle inspection canopy on Center Drive in front of the Safra Family Lodge? Since the commercial vehicle inspection station has opened on Rockville Pike and Center Drive is now an employee entrance, the canopy is no longer needed. It is ugly and presents a hazard to pedestrians crossing Center Drive at Convent Drive, because it blocks incoming drivers' view of the pedestrian crossing to the right.

Response from the Office of Research Services: Contract negotiations are under way for the canopy to be taken down and for related road repairs to be made. Work will include removal of the canopy, two guard houses and light pole and fixtures as well as repair of the sidewalk and road, and re-asphalting the road. Most of the work is scheduled to be done over weekends to minimize closure and inconvenience to employees, but there may be times when the road or lanes may close while work is ongoing. As soon as we get a timetable, we will be notifying all employees.

Feedback: Bldg. 31 really seems to be showing its age. The windows don't work, the escalators are a joke, the heating and cooling is spotty at best. The exterior is dirty and simply ugly. Some halls look nice but others look horrid. Some bathrooms are spiffy while others [are not]. Are there any plans to refurbish "old faithful" from top to bottom? That would seem to make more sense than doing it ad hoc.

Reply from the Division of Facilities Planning, Office of Research Facilities: Bldg. 31 was constructed in phases over a 6-year period during the 1960s and completed in 1968. The 40-plus-year-old complex is an aged facility with most of its infrastructure systems having outlived their expected service life. The Division of Facilities Planning has recently initiated a comprehensive facility evaluation for Bldg. 31 that will provide a detailed assessment of the building's condition along with options for its renovation or replacement. This study is intended to provide NIH with background information needed to determine what to do with the facility in the future. In the meantime, ORF continues to invest in Bldg. 31 through ongoing maintenance, repairs to the aging systems and improvements to enhance safety and accessibility. Improvements can be recognized by the recent bathroom upgrades throughout the building, which improve accessibility for people with disabilities; the new fire alarm system for improved life safety; and the soon-to-be constructed C-wing stair tower that will be located next to the C-wing elevators, and which will improve fire egress from the 6th floor conference center and from B- and C-wing offices.

The Bldg. 31 Study is being jointly managed by Susan Cantilli of DFP and Eleanor Demasco of the Construction Management Branch, ORF Division of Property Management. Results from the study are expected in spring 2008. In the meantime, if you have any questions about the progress of the study, feel free to email Cantilli, pfiffnes@mail.nih.gov, or Demasco, demascoe@ mail.nih.gov.

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