Los Alamos National Laboratory Emergency Operations Center

A prescribed burn by the National Park Service turned into a wildfire that threatened the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) and destroyed 235 structures in and around Los Alamos, New Mexico.

Project Description: 

A prescribed burn by the National Park Service turned into a wildfire that threatened the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) and destroyed 235 structures in and around Los Alamos, New Mexico.

In response to the fire, the University of California, on behalf of the United States Department of Energy (DOE), awarded The Austin Company a $16 million contract to provide complete architectural design, engineering and construction services for a new, state-of-the-art Command and Emergency Operations Center (EOC).

The facility would be jointly used by LANL and the County of Los Alamos — the first joint effort ever between a laboratory and a local government.

The Austin Company was awarded the contract based on its design-build experience and expertise in high-reliability command and operations centers. “The Austin Company developed an innovative solution to difficult design parameters,” said Keith Orr, EOC project director. The devastating fire taught LANL many lessons about emergency preparation, which would be directly applied to the design of the EOC.

Following the project definition phase, The Austin Company initiated a conceptual design and then began construction. The two-story, 38,000 SF facility provides an operations area, interagency coordination room, executive policy isolation room, radio communications center, director and staff offices, training facilities and offices for all emergency agencies in the event of an emergency.

The second floor houses the county’s police, fire, medical and 911 dispatchers. The EOC employs about 25 to 30 people day-to-day and about 120 during an emergency.

The EOC provides enhanced and coordinated command and management capabilities with an integrated 24-hour 911 dispatch center. The facility is designed and constructed to strengthened survivability performance standards, which exceed current codes for essential facilities. It also provides the capability for longer-term operations under emergency conditions, offering full self-support capabilities, including stand-by power generation, reserve potable water supply, kitchen, bunkroom, shower and laundry facilities, and other requirements to independently sustain uninterrupted operations for 14 days.

The new EOC provides the highest possible level of security, operational efficiency and cost-effective self-sufficiency, while offering users the comfort and support necessary in extended emergency conditions. Eight vehicle bays accommodate a variety of emergency response vehicles.

The facility incorporates a number of sustainable design features and received a Sustainable Design/Pollution Prevention Award from the Department of Energy.

Project Stats: 
Square Footage: 38,000
Austin Services Provided: Design, Engineering, Construction
Location: 

Los Alamos, NM

Project Client: 

Los Alamos National Laboratory

Share