Construction is anticipated to begin in August.
Texas Tech University is taking a big step forward in research and development for national defense.
Management firm Consolidated Nuclear Security, LLC (CNS) received approval recently from the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) to pursue a lease for a facility that will transform the skyline of the Pantex Plant, the nation's only nuclear weapons assembly and disassembly facility and a key element in the U.S. nuclear security enterprise. Pantex is located 17 miles east of Amarillo.
The new Pantex Administrative Support Complex (ASC), to be built just south of the Pantex Plant, will be a 343,000 square foot, state-of-the-art facility providing office space for up to 1,100 federal and contractor employees. The facility will be developed by Lawler-Wood, LLC.
A portion of the new complex – 16,000 square feet – will be leased to Texas Tech with visions of optimizing the facility's utility and providing profound service in the national agenda. Texas Tech has been recognized for its commitment to national defense.
“Texas Tech is committed to meeting our national security needs,” said interim president John Opperman. “Texas Tech and CNS researchers are collaborating in the areas of novel 3-D printing technologies, modeling of chemical processes and advanced machining studies. This partnership with CNS is the next step in our ongoing national defense efforts.”
In September, Texas Tech and CNS agreed upon areas for collaboration efforts as well as the scope of potential future opportunities. Since then, several contracts have been awarded to Texas Tech to meet research needs at both Pantex and the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, which CNS also operates. Multiple employees from Pantex have enrolled in Texas Tech's Master's of Systems and Engineering Management program.
“CNS and Texas Tech will continue to work closely to broaden and deepen the collaborative efforts that meet our mutual strategic goals,” said Guy Loneragan, Texas Tech's interim vice president for research. “The Texas Tech space at the new ASC will serve to further solidify our growing relationship with CNS.”
Robert V. Duncan, the university's vice president of strategic research initiatives, said the collaboration benefits Texas Tech alumni as well as current and future students.
“I am delighted we have negotiated this excellent opportunity for Texas Tech with Pantex and CNS,” Duncan said. “This is yet another example of how achieving our designation as a Tier One Highest Research University by the Carnegie Foundation has increased the reputation of Texas Tech worldwide and increased the value of our degrees to our alumni's benefit everywhere.”
“This milestone underscores our commitment to address the Pantex Plant's aging infrastructure challenges and to invest in the site to position it for the future,” said CNS Deputy Enterprise Manager Michelle Reichert. “The ASC will enhance our ability to attract and retain highly skilled employees to safely perform our national security mission. It will also allow us to be more focused on other critical infrastructure needs at the Plant.”
CNS will now begin working with Lawler-Wood, LLC to finalize the project details. Construction is anticipated to begin in August. The new facility will be near the intersection of Farm to Market Road 2373 and Highway 60.
“This announcement is an important milestone in strengthening our continued work with Pantex,” Texas Tech University System Chancellor Robert Duncan said. “Nuclear safety and security is paramount to our national defense, and Texas Tech's leadership will help enhance the mission and overall efforts at this facility. We are excited to increase our research and development activities with Pantex and look forward to future collaborations this space will provide as we work together in service to the NNSA.”