IT'S MIDSUMMER IN DENVER, and the city has been baking under a heat wave for a couple of months. But in one small corner of the sprawling Denver Federal Center campus in the nearby suburb of Lakewood, about a dozen people are bundled up in thickly insulated Carhartt jumpsuits, wool caps, scarves and gloves.
For the past year the National Ice Core Laboratory (NICL) management and staff has been working on the completion of the NICL freezer infrastructure upgrades. The new LED lighting project was recently completed. Now when the staff walks into the lab and turns on the lights, work can begin immediately. There is no wait time for the lights to heat up and come on. We have instantaneous bright light in the room! The LED lights cost substantially less to operate than the previous metal halide lights; in addition, the LED lights produce significantly less heat than the metal halide lights. The mechanical contractor has already had to make some adjustments on the refrigeration system as a result of less heat going into the freezer and exam room. The cost to purchase and install these lights was significantly less than originally anticipated. Also, a substantial XCEL energy rebate will be received as a result of the installation of these new LED lights.
The evaporative condenser upgrade project is anticipated to commence within the next month. NSF provided the funds to the USGS last year. Unfortunately, the USGS was in the process of upgrading its financial system just as the paperwork was submitted to the Contracting Office. After an inability to get complete proposals from qualified contractors, the USGS is in the process of finalizing the contract with the vendor who will be performing the work. Once this has occurred, the contractor will need to purchase the new evaporative condenser. The contractor has 150 days to complete the project. The contractor anticipates the lead time to get the equipment purchased and build may take as long as 60 days. This project should have minimal to no impact on the WAIS Divide core processing line which begins on June 1.
The General Services Administration (GSA) has been performing many upgrades on the Denver Federal Center over the past nine months. As a result the NICL staff faced issues related to broken domestic water lines, unforeseen power outages, and foreseen weekend-long power outages to name a few. The NICL staff looked at these situations as opportunities to test the various systems. We took advantage of these multiple opportunities and are happy to report that all went extremely well. We test our systems periodically, but by having the systems "tested" in the manner in which they have been tested the past several months, it is great to know that they work as planned.
The NICL staff is currently preparing for the WAIS Divide CPL. The NICL staff currently consists of two interns - Lacey Fischer (Regis University) and Mick Sternberg (Metropolitan State College, Denver), two students - Eirik Ogilvie-Wigley (University of Colorado, Boulder) and John Melrose (Metropolitan State College, Denver), Richard Nunn (Assistant Curator), Brian Bencivengo (Assistant Curator), Geoff Hargreaves (Curator), and Betty Adrian (Acting Technical Director). Equipment is being secured in its CPL location, tables are brought into alignment, and we are taking care of the last minute items on our checklist. Lacey Fischer was recently featured in the Regis University Magazine for her work as an intern with the NICL (see A Story Captured in Ice).