NNSA breaks ground in many ways

Wednesday - 9/29/2010, 10:41am EDT

Mark Holecek, Kansas City Site Office Manager, NNSA

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By Suzanne Kubota
Senior Internet Editor
FederalNewsRadio.com

When the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) broke ground for a new manufacturing plant earlier this month, it also broke ground in the federal government.

As a LEED Gold manufacturing campus, the National Security Campus is "one of the first, certainly in the Kansas City area, and one of the first in the nation," said Mark Holecek, NNSA's Kansas City Site Manager.

Built in 1942 by the Department of Defense, the facility builds electronic, mechanical and engineered-type parts primarily for nuclear weapons purposes. Holecek told Federal News Radio, "over time, some of those activities have grown bigger than what they need to be for our current workload."

So the new facility will be smaller, said Holecek, designed for a 50% reduction in energy usage, reduce building waste and maintenance, and sport white roofs and solar water heating. "The energy savings we're looking at are in the millions annually," said Holecek.

With a price tag of about $687 million, the new campus is expected to save $100 million a year in energy consumption and building maintenance. While it may seem that would mean that it would take seven years to pay for itself, Holecek explained to the Federal Drive NNSA will start seeing savings nearly immediately.

GSA, he said, had the facility built to suit NNSA and its needs and is the leasing agent. Once the facility is built and employees start a phased move in late 2012, Holecek said the $100 million savings is greater than the lease payment.

Holecek said the effort is part of an overall transformation plan that's "about improving our efficiency,..modernizing our infrastructure so that we're ready for out future needs."

This means that both facilities and processes need addressing. "Our production requirements change pretty regularly, so flexibility is sort of a modern term for manufacturing's ability to flex with changes in schedules and demand."

Eventually, the new campus will house roughly 2,500 employees in manufacturing, laboratory, office and warehouse space. As the first of eight sites across the country to go through the transformation, this will serve as a sort of best practices proving ground for NNSA.

(Stay tuned next week for Federal News Radio's series, Greening of Government. The series will explore how agencies are becoming green through their buildings, technology, people, and modes of transportation. We will also explore how government contractors are employing green technologies.)