Ceremony to mark construction of WSU Tri-Cities engineering lab

A ceremony to mark the start of construction of the EnergySolutions Engineering Laboratory being donated to Washington State University Tri-Cities is planned at 10 a.m. Tuesday.

EnergySolutions will build the $3 million building on seven acres owned by Washington State University Tri-Cities.

It plans to donate the building to the university and then lease it back for 18 months for $10. It then will have the option to extend the lease for one year at fair market value.

A long-term partnership between EnergySolutions, NuVision Engineering and WSU Tri-Cities is planned that will include collaborative research, engineering scholarships and internships.

Fowler Construction of Richland has the construction contract for the building and expects to begin work this month and have the 13,000-square-foot building completed by summer 2012.

It will include 10,000 square feet of laboratory space and 3,000 square feet of office space.

EnergySolutions Federal EPC of Richland recently was awarded a subcontract from Bechtel National to conduct large-scale testing of the Hanford vitrification plant's waste-mixing system.

The building features a high bay that can accommodate large tanks needed for the testing, which will use nonradioactive waste simulants.

Among officials planning to attend the ground-breaking ceremony are Alan Parker, EnergySolutions president of the government group; WSU Tri-Cities Chancellor Vicky Carwein, and representatives from Bechtel, the Department of Energy, NuVision Engineering, DesignWest, the Port of Benton and the city of Richland.

The ceremony will be at the construction site off George Washington Way across from the WSU Tri-Cities campus. From George Washington Way, turn west at the stoplight at University Drive and take the first left into the undeveloped area.