The H-Building Passes


It’s down! BNL’s plans to replace old offices and barracks left over from Camp Upton with new buildings designed for a cutting-edge scientific laboratory took a leap into the future as Building 475, known from its shape as the “H” building, was taken down to be returned to grass and trees.

The Site Services Division, led by Manager Tom Lambertson, along with General Supervisor Rich Jones, and Heavy Equipment Supervisor John Gottlieb is managing this project, using Lab operating funds.

“We have a key word in this and every project: ‘Safety,’” said Lambertson. “Demolishing a building has many aspects that have to be considered, and everything we do begins with safety.”

“Once a building is labeled for demolition, it goes through an extensive process before any bucket hits its walls,” said Jones.

First, historical data are reviewed through what are known as “Facility Use Agreements.” Then the “Exit Readiness Evaluation” takes place. In the case of Bldg. 475, Richard Travis of the Safety & Health Services Division organized this evaluation in December 2008. Then, following normal procedure, all findings were entered into the BNL Assessment Tracking System, which tracks all outstanding requirements to closure. Rich Scheidet of the Modernization Project Office led that extensive effort.

Bldg. 475 was not expected to be demolished until 2012, but with money made available recently, the Site Services Division was tasked to take it down by the end of this fiscal year 2009.


“Too many people were involved to list individually,” said Jones. “But without the commitment and efficient team work of all, this task could not have been accomplished on time, within budget, and without incident, which continues our excellent safety record of the past eight years.”

Groups in the Facility & Operations Directorate who were involved with this demolition work include the Modernization Project Office, Facility Operations Office, the Environment, Safety, Health, Training and Quality group; the Business Operations Division, the Laboratory Protection (Fire, Security) Division, the Maintenance & Fabrication Services Division (Electrical, Plumbing, A/C, Asbestos/Steam, Sheet metal), the Energy & Utilities Division (Electric Distribution and Wastewater Treatment groups), the Staff Services Division, and the Site Services Division (Custodial, Roads/Grounds, Rigging, and the Heavy Equipment Mechanic Operator [HEMO] group). The HEMO group operates all the equipment to take down and package the building, grade the area and get it ready for seeding by grounds personnel.

Lanny Bates, Assistant Laboratory Director for Facility & Operations commented, “I am proud of the F&O team that worked on this project. It takes a wide range of skill sets to do something as apparently simple as knock down an old building and do it safely and in an environmentally sound manner. It really is a process of ‘deconstruction.’ The demolition of Building 475 was efficient and well executed. The team did a great job!”

The H-Building: Memories Do Not Fade

To some of the more recent inhabitants of the “H” Building who suffered from its inconveniences, which grew greater as time went by, its passing is good news. But for others — especially the now-scattered remaining members of the glorious National Center for the Analysis of Energy Systems or the seismic study group that once filled the wings of the H with workers (many of whom might now be considered of unusual eccentricity) -- the great memories of the 1970s and 1980s will never die. Grass and trees are fine, but for some of us who might eventually brave the ticks to stroll in the new “parkland,” echoes of running footsteps in long hallways will still ring in our ears, with the faint accompaniment of frantic cries of “Can anyone lend me a tie? I have to go to DC this afternoon!” Visions of vivid scenes from the past will forever re-ignite long-ago laughter, disappointments, funding triumphs, the seething frustration engendered by the primeval fax machine or the malfunctioning copier (“It’s stopped working again? Kick it in the drum!”), the bitter cold Mondays of the prototype heat pump radiator era, the enticing aroma of homemade soup that refueled the team during projects that stretched through the weekend. All of these draw us together in remembrances that the mere obliteration of a building can never erase.

— Liz Seubert, past cave-dweller of Bldg. 475.

2009-1404  |  INT/EXT  |  Newsroom