Installation Planning Board assists in revitalization of ARL sites

March 01, 2016

By Jenna Brady, ARL Public Affairs

ADELPHI, Md. -- In order to assist in the decision making process as it pertains to infrastructure investments, the U.S. Army Research Laboratory has established an Installation Planning Board, which is comprised of representatives from each ARL site and directorate.

The intent of this cross-site planning board, which was formed last year, is to enhance communication and decision making within the organization and to prioritize infrastructure investment proposals for elevation to senior management for consideration and approval.

"The IPB was formed to improve communication in regards to the infrastructure investments at each ARL installation and to create a sense of transparency that is needed in order to not only be successful in our end goals, but to ensure that the laboratory is making the most educated decisions for the future needs of the laboratory and its mission," said Shawn Kidwell of ARL's Infrastructure and Facilities Branch and lead of the IPB. "This board was formed to not only prioritize investments, but to create an even more successful ARL," Kidwell said.

The projects that are discussed by the board include those that are supported by Section 219 funds.

The Duncan Hunter Act, Section 219, states that Research Development Test and Evaluation funds may be used to fund the revitalization and recapitalization of the laboratory pursuant to section 2805(d) of Title 10, United States code.

Section 219 funds are authorized to support minor construction projects on laboratories with a total funding cost less than $4 million. Construction projects costing $4 million and over fall under Military Construction, or MILCON, funds where approval must come from Congress.

Projects that are supported by Section 219 funds include alterations of facilities solely to implement new or higher standards, accommodate new functions or renew building components typically lasting more than 50 years, and minor construction projects that are not inherently the responsibility of the Installation Management Command.

"219 funds are put towards projects that improve or convert laboratories to meet the needs of a mission change, thus, to be considered, the proposals that come in must contribute to meeting those new needs of the laboratory once constructed," Kidwell said. The IPB produces an integrated priority list for the projects proposed, which sets or resets priorities and investment requirements. Those requirements that cannot be met in the current term help to provide a vision for future plans for ARL.

219 projects are ranked by the IPB using a Facilities Assessment Framework that includes four categories: feasibility, leverage, effects and payoff.

After the scores are tallied, the proposed projects are prioritized highest to lowest based on the score that each receives. The IPB reviews the list and adjusts the priorities if there are any major safety issues that need to be addressed and if projects are "shovel ready."

ARL is already witnessing restoration projects using 219 funds with the spring renovation project at headquarters at the Adelphi Laboratory Center.

The Directorate of Public Works, in conjunction with ARL's Laboratory Operations, will begin construction on the first stage of this multi-phased restroom renovation project later this spring. The renovation will include the Building 205 first floor restrooms near the auditorium, and the "center" restrooms in the F corridor of Building 202 and 204's second, third and fourth floors.

What does not fall under 219 projects, but are also discussed and prioritized by the IPB, includes routine maintenance and major repairs due to inadequate sustainment, excessive age, natural disaster, or fire accidents.

The sustainment and restoration projects are ranked using what is called the S&R Rating Matrix. With this matrix, scoring is based on mission and quality.

As with 219 projects, the sustainment and restoration projects are prioritized highest to lowest and may be adjusted by the IPB based on safety and mission requirements.

According to Kidwell, about 60 proposals for infrastructure investments come in each year, and the IPB meets bi-monthly and as needed to determine which projects need to be completed during certain time frames.

Separate from 219 and sustainment and restoration projects, but crucial to the mission and revitalization of the laboratory, ARL and ALC are also working to seek approval for potential third party engagement to develop facilities on underutilized non-excess property at ALC.

"This proposed development opportunity, which numerous ARL research partners have expressed interest in, supports and advances Department of Defense research and development endeavors as well as ARL's Open Campus Concept, where the idea is to develop a campus with facilities to host Army research partners from governmental research institutions, industry and academia," Kidwell said.

ARL has completed significant planning efforts associated with this project, including site planning, constraints analysis, impact analysis to include community parking, traffic and utilities, market and feasibility analysis, and National Environmental Policy Act strategy analysis.

The project falls under the Army's Enhanced Use Lease Program, which engages private sector entities through a competitive process to develop underused, but not excess, Army property for purposes that are compatible with an installation's mission and which serve public interest.

With the transparency and open line of communication that the IPB facilitates in terms of infrastructure investments around each of ARL's sites, Kidwell said that it is hoped that ARL will continue to productively move forward in support of the laboratory's mission of discovering, innovating and transitioning science and technology to ensure dominant strategic land power, as well as address any new needs that the laboratory will require as it continues to work to support the Solider of the future.

The U.S. Army Research Laboratory is part of the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command, which has the mission to ensure decisive overmatch for unified land operations to empower the Army, the joint warfighter and our nation. RDECOM is a major subordinate command of the U.S. Army Materiel Command.


Last Update / Reviewed: March 1, 2016