August 6, 2012
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration will be moving its weather forecasting center to a new facility in College Park, Md., this fall, a spokeswoman said Monday.
After running the weather operations out of an aging building in Camp Springs, Md., for many years, NOAA finally will inaugurate a new $100 million facility, located on the University of Maryland-College Park’s M Square Research Park.
The new facility will feature more servers and data analysis capacity to help the mission of NOAA’s Center for Weather and Climate Prediction. According to NOAA spokeswoman Maureen O’Leary, the building will house approximately 825 employees and several NOAA offices, including the National Centers for Environmental Prediction; the Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research; and the National Environmental Satellite, Data and Information Service.
The building has been under construction since 1999 and was scheduled to be completed in 2008. The bankruptcy of the contractor in charge of the construction delayed progress until this year, when construction finally was completed, according to The Washington Post.
Louis Uccellini, director of NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Prediction, has worked for years to make the move happen.
“In some sense, I’m still pinching myself,” Uccellini told the Post. “Nobody expected it to take this long,”
The facility at Camp Springs had served NOAA for decades, but its limitations began to hinder the agency. Sources told the Post the facility had limited capacity for the electronic equipment the agency needs and noted holes had to be drilled in the cement floors for wires. Additionally, NOAA employees spoke about the unsafe conditions surrounding the Camp Springs area, potentially deterring possible employees from joining the agency’s workforce.
“The building they’re leaving in Camp Springs is really kind of stuck in a time warp,” National Weather Service spokeswoman Maureen O’Leary told the Post.
The new building is six miles from NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, and two miles from the main campus of the University of Maryland-College Park.
August 6, 2012