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Vol. LXVII, No. 20
September 25, 2015
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‘Memorial Lab’ Memento
Bldg. 7 Cornerstone Preserved

The demolition of Bldg. 7 has begun with the removal of its cornerstone Sept. 4. Workers from subcontractor Vulcan Group carefully chipped away at the outside of the cornerstone, a slab of granite weighing between 600-800 pounds, and gently lowered it to a cushioned pallet without damaging the stone—or anyone’s fingers, for that matter.

Moving the pallet from the wall to the sidewalk proved to be no simple task. A foot-high “silt fence” lining the construction site, set up to prevent run-off from the site onto the street, blocked a forklift from entering. After brainstorming different solutions—spurred by a serendipitous meeting with ORF Director Dan Wheeland, who was walking by at the time—an excavator pulled the pallet out and then lifted it like a precious gift over the fence to the waiting forklift operator. It was then off to storage at the NIH Stetten Museum collection. Michele Lyons, curator of the Stetten Museum, was on hand to watch the removal in case there was a time capsule deposited behind the stone. Unfortunately, there was not.

Bldg. 7 opened in 1946 and was called the Memorial Laboratory in honor of employees who had died while researching infectious diseases. There are articles in past issues of the NIH Record and the Catalyst describing the history of Bldg. 7. It will take several months to demolish the building.

the first stages have begun to demolish Bldg. 7, located on Memorial Drive just south of the Clinical Center loading dock.

Above, the first stages have begun to demolish Bldg. 7, located on Memorial Drive just south of the Clinical Center loading dock.

At right, on Aug. 27, workers remove the chimney brickwork by hand. Once they get that down to roof level, they will then bring in a pulverizing machine to take down the whole building.

The entire process, including restoration of the site to a grassy area, is scheduled to last through March 2016. Security fencing surrounds the building and the walkway. The pedestrian stairwell just north of the structure will remain closed during this project.

At certain stages of the demolition, temporary road closures on Memorial Drive will be required to accommodate underground utility work. If you have any questions or concerns, contact ORF project officer Earl Johnson at johnsoe@ors.od.nih.gov or (301) 594-7964.

Photos: Carla Garnett, Bill Branson

on Aug. 27, workers remove the chimney brickwork by hand. Once they get that down to roof level, they will then bring in a pulverizing machine to take down the whole building.
Vulcan Group’s Carlos Ramos (l) and Wes Parrish lower the cornerstone. Rene Cathelineaud is inside with the guide rope.

At left, Vulcan Group’s Carlos Ramos (l) and Wes Parrish lower the cornerstone. Rene Cathelineaud is inside with the guide rope.

At right (from l) Cathelineaud, Carl McCann of ORF, Parrish and ORF’s Earl Johnson watch as Ramos uses the excavator to lift the cornerstone over the silt fence.

Photos: Michele Lyons

Cathelineaud, Carl McCann of ORF, Parrish and ORF’s Earl Johnson watch as Ramos uses the excavator to lift the cornerstone over the silt fence.


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