A new 'front door' for Sandia's California site

Center to 'deepen meaning, understanding, value of local laboratory,' Sandia leaders say

Sandia National Laboratories has broken ground on a new building that will enable consolidation of "front door" activities at its California site in Livermore.

The new building will house the site's Human Resources department and will be home of the training center for students and new hires. The new 20,000-square-foot facility, funded by institutional investments, will provide employment candidates, new hires, and student interns an open, welcome, accessible space. All employees, including foreign nationals, will have easy access to the building, which will be located in the Livermore Valley Open Campus (LVOC). It is scheduled for completion next year.

Paul Hommert, Sandia president and Labs director, talked about the history of the open campus at the groundbreaking ceremony, which was led by Denise Koker, director of Site Operations. Other speakers included Marianne Walck, vice president of Sandia's California site, and Livermore Mayor John Marchand.

Hommert said the idea of the open campus was born out of a challenge from the U.S. Energy Department to deepen the meaning, understanding, and value of the presence of the laboratory in California.

In 2007, as Sandia's vice president for Sandia's California site, Hommert commissioned a group of people to do a study on stewardship models for the site.

"It sharpened our focus and allowed us to think more deeply about how we can use our presence here," he said. "What we are celebrating represents a concrete manifestation of the open campus vision that has its roots in that original challenge."

He added that the site and partnership with Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory are an example of what the country needs to strengthen the approach to today's competitive world.

Walck said having a welcoming environment where visitors, recruits, and new hires can access without having to immediately enter layers of visible security allows a greater ease in collaborations and builds a sense of community for new hires from the start.

"The building will have a positive effect on our ability to hire and retain the brightest people," she said. "This allows us to meet all of our national security missions."

Walck said this is the first new building specifically designed as part of the effort to reconfigure the site and as part of the LVOC. Plans for a new building called Collaboration in Research and Engineering for Advanced Technology and Education (CREATE) will also support this vision. The proposed 86,000-square-foot facility will provide additional collaboration space for engagement with industry and academia.

Marchand said he was excited about the potential that the LVOC can bring to Livermore and Tri-Valley.

"This first new building on the Livermore Valley Open Campus can be a place where a new era of open and international collaboration can occur as new ideas and new technologies are developed," he said. "At the same time, the LVOC will further the mission of the Laboratories and advance the Labs' mission of national security."

Marchand said he has spent his career in the sciences, primarily as an organic chemist and microbiologist.

"Now I am the mayor of a city where some of the most difficult problems in the world come to be solved," he said, referring both to Sandia and the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.

Marchand added: "At the bottom of the recession, the Tri-Valley cities came together, and partnered with (these laboratories) to create the concept of i-GATE, a business incubator that could take new technologies coming out of the labs, and bring together the resources to launch new businesses which can create new jobs through the cultivation of the regional innovation economy.

"The LVOC represents an opportunity to collaborate together with academia, industry, the city of Livermore and other regional cities in a modern technology park environment. This first new building on the Livermore Valley Open Campus can be a place where a new era of open and international collaboration can occur as new ideas and new technologies are developed."

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