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Vol. LXIV, No. 12
June 8, 2012

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Have a question about some aspect of working at NIH? You can post anonymous queries at (click on the Feedback icon) and we’ll try to provide answers.

Feedback: I read in the Gazette that the NIH is developing a new master plan that includes replacing Bldgs. 31 and 12 and relocating Bldg. 21. However, I could not find any details about this plan on the NIH web site. Can the Record obtain any information about the planning process, when the new plan will be public and what the rationale is for these changes? Obviously, implementation of the new master plan will be subject to funding, but in the meantime, it would be nice to have some details about what the plan says.

Response from the Office of Research Facilities: Departmental policy requires all HHS operating divisions, including NIH, to update their master plans on a regular basis. NIH last developed a master plan in 2003. This plan has become outdated and does not incorporate sustainability and other recent requirements.

At NIH, the current master plan process is being overseen by the facilities working group on behalf of the NIH director. The process includes an environmental impact statement along with opportunity for public input. An initial public scoping meeting was held on Feb. 28, 2012. The meeting included a presentation by NIH staff and allowed for comments from the public.

A master plan does not guarantee that any facility will be funded. Rather, the plan sets forth goals on where an institution aspires to be in the future. The 20-year goals of the upcoming NIH master plan are to:

  • Continue to focus scientifically on “Centers of Science” like the Porter Neuroscience Research Center to foster discovery through interdisciplinary synergies;
  • Demolish buildings that are beyond their service lives;
  • Adaptively reuse historic but outdated laboratories as administrative buildings where feasible, such as the newly renovated Bldg. 3;
  • Bring costly leased laboratories back to campus to leverage access to the Clinical Center, animal facilities and shared equipment;
  • Improve pedestrian safety and embrace current and future mass transit opportunities such as the Purple Line and Bus Rapid Transit to contain congestion;
  • Create additional “green space” by converting unsightly surface parking lots to structured parking while maintaining parking ratios of two employees for every parking space.

In August 2012, NIH plans to submit a draft master plan to the National Capital Planning Commission. At that time, NIH will provide a copy to the NIH Record and the draft will also be available to the public.

Feedback: Can the NIH Police start cracking down on drivers who go the wrong way in the parking garages? People are deliberately driving against the legal direction in order to grab parking spots or to exit the garages “sooner.” None of the newly painted markings seem to faze them.

Response from the Office of Research Services: NIH Police officers routinely monitor the garages for these types of violations. We will direct more attention to this problem during the rush hour periods while officers also actively monitor vehicle and pedestrian traffic. As each garage possesses different challenges for those who park there, appropriate corrective action will be taken, be it a verbal or written warning or issuance of a magistrate’s notice if the infraction is observed and deemed avoidable.

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