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A New Town and Some New Technology
By: Denise Lineberry

Amid the talk of change concerning New Town and Information Technology (IT) at this morning's town hall meeting, the focus remained on the progress that will result from those changes.

After New Town's expected completion in 2020, NASA Langley will have six new buildings and two rehabilitated buildings. These buildings will be energy efficient and sustainable. Parking, pedestrian paths, campus image, climate considerations and circulation are all elements that are being taken into consideration with New Town.

Ten less sustainable buildings will be demolished.

Why are we doing New Town?

George Finelli, director of the Center Operations Directorate (COD), explained that it is cheaper, in the long run, to rebuild than to continue maintaining the center's current buildings, allowing us to place that maintenance money into other projects.

Tom Quenville.

Ed Weaver, from DMJM Design. Photo Credit: NASA/Sean Smith.

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"We have systems that are potentially high risk," Finelli said. "We have to be ready for new things."

At NASA Langley, more than 100 buildings are 50 years or older, a number that will double in the next decade. Since August of 2004, 135 facilities have been closed. Since October of 2004, 75 facilities have been demolished.

Those changes have resulted in a $2.9 million cost avoidance. "We need to reinvest that money in other things that need to be done," Finelli said.

The concept of New Town began in 2003. The 15-year multi-building repair-by-replacement upgrade project will start with a new headquarters building that is 70,000 square feet. The construction for that building is expected to be complete in 2010.

"This is the only building that doesn't require a lot of demolition," explained Tom Quenville, Langley's lead for New Town. Quenville explained that approximately 1,200 employees would be affected by the construction of New Town. Construction is expected to begin in the summer of 2009. "There will be about one new building every two years for six years," Quenville said.

DMJM Design, the firm designing New Town to be energy efficient and sustainable, has had constant communication with the center's management. "Even the smallest remarks can have a major impact on the design process," said Jamie Tilghman of DMJM Design.

Ginny Dyson, of DMJM Design, discussed the sustainability, water efficiency, air quality, energy conservation and material resources being considered. One concept mentioned was "xericaping," or planting species that require zero irrigation.

"To an architect, this is a rich and fascinating place to think about design," Tilghman said. "We are striving to bring a sense of that energy that exists."

And on the IT side of things, Langley has a Google (beta) Web site, giving a more integrated response to Internet searches. Telephone upgrades are expected to roll out in late fall. Five center overview videos are being created. The Office of Chief Information Officer (OCIO) is conducting an iPhone pilot and a high-definition videoconferencing pilot. And the ODIN transition is set to be complete by the end of this year, with 1,200 seats to go.

"Langley spends 10 percent of its budget each year on IT," said Cathy Mangum, director of OCIO. She indicated that NASA Langley spends nearly twice as much on IT as other comparable organizations.

"We have opportunities for efficiencies," Mangum said. A governance model is being put into place, along with three governance boards.

"We ask that you keep an open mind," she said. "Please communicate issues to OCIO directly."

There will be a center-wide data center assessment. The recommendations from that assessment will come out in February.


NASA Langley Research Center
Managing Editor: Jim Hodges
Executive Editor and Responsible NASA Official: H. Keith Henry
Editor and Curator: Denise Lineberry