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Maintenance Woes Hamper NIST Laboratories

Feb 26, 2024 | Public | 0 comments

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New report is latest warning about the way the poor state of NIST’s infrastructure is seriously hampering research   February 27, 2024

Deferred maintenance, driven largely by taxpayer reluctance to finance much-needed repairs, has been plaguing the nation’s public schools for decades. Government facilities also are struggling under its burden, and it is even causing untold destruction to the nation’s military facilities. Not surprisingly, another sector of public buildings is suffering the same fate.

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) physics labs in Boulder, Colorado, need hundreds of millions of dollars to repair and modernize their ailing physical infrastructure, according to a report from the National Academies. Published in January, the report is the latest in a series of warnings about the way the poor state of NIST’s infrastructure is seriously hampering research, according to the American Institute of Physics.

The panel examined the four divisions of NIST’s Physical Measurement Lab (PML) located in Boulder. The panel’s tasking did not cover the five divisions of PML located at the agency’s Maryland campus, which also has huge maintenance backlogs.

The Boulder branch of PML includes NIST’s contribution to a major quantum research institute called JILA at the University of Colorado, Boulder. Despite its high reputation, even JILA faces a daunting backlog of maintenance.

“The continuing excellence of JILA is seriously endangered by a combination of aging and lacking facilities and infrastructure,” the panel warns.

Site visits to JILA gave the panel the impression that the institute is “at best extremely close to — or, more likely, already past — the tipping point where the facility issues are able to be deferred while the institution continues being successful.”

The panel reaches similar conclusions for the other divisions, stating they produce excellent research but are increasingly undermined by infrastructure problems.

By Dan Hounsell, Senior Editor 

Dan Hounsell is senior editor for the facilities market. He has more than 30 years of experience writing about facilities maintenance, engineering and management.  

The post "Maintenance Woes Hamper NIST Laboratories" appeared first on FN Prime Maintenance & Operations


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