OAK RIDGE, Tenn. – March 27, 2023 – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) announced today it has awarded Geiger Brothers a $9.9 million contract to build the K-25 Viewing Platform at the East Tennessee Technology Park in Oak Ridge.
Geiger Brothers is a full-service construction and engineering firm headquartered in Jackson, Ohio with offices in Columbus, Ohio, and Knoxville, Tennessee.
United Cleanup Oak Ridge and its subcontractor Smee + Busby Architects designed the K-25 Viewing Platform and will provide engineering support to USACE and its contractor during construction.
Through an interagency agreement signed last year, the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Oak Ridge Office of Environmental Management (OREM) provided the funds for this project, while the USACE will oversee its construction.
“The Corps of Engineers is honored to continue our long-standing partnership with the Department of Energy at Oak Ridge as we award the K-25 Viewing Platform contract,” said Lt. Col. Joseph Sahl, commander, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Nashville District. “This project has special meaning to us due to our history with the Manhattan Project construction, and we are excited to manage this project, working with our partners in the Oak Ridge Office of Environmental Management.”
The K-25 Viewing Platform will be adjacent to the recently opened K-25 History Center and provide visitors with a complete view of the building’s massive 44-acre footprint.
Its construction is one of the final components of a multi-project agreement OREM signed in 2012 to commemorate the history of the former Oak Ridge Gaseous Diffusion Plant, where the K-25 Building was located. OREM completed the other elements in previous years, which included the construction of the K-25 History Center and a grant to preserve the historic Alexander Inn.
“We are thankful for insight, skills, and experience the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers brings to this partnership,” said OREM Manager Jay Mullis. “They’ve enabled this project to move forward, and we are looking forward to completing this much-anticipated facility that will offer so much to visitors at the site.”
Construction on the new facility is scheduled to begin in May 2023, and it is slated for completion in late 2024.
While the K-25 History Center focuses on the men and women who built and operated the Oak Ridge Diffusion Plant during the Manhattan Project and Cold War, this facility will help visitors understand the scope and magnitude of the former K-25 Building.
Originally constructed in 1944, the K-25 Building was the largest structure in the world and carried an equally immense and important mission to help end a global war by producing uranium for the world’s first nuclear weapon. Yet despite its size and urgent work, the public would not learn of its existence in Oak Ridge until the end of World War II.
Uranium enrichment operations ceased in 1985, and the site was permanently shut down in 1987. Afterward, DOE committed to and began a massive environmental cleanup effort to transform the site into a multi-use industrial park for the community. That effort involved tearing down five massive enrichment facilities, including the K-25 Building, and 500 other structures that supported operations at the site. OREM and its contractor UCOR completed the demolition of the K-25 Building in 2013 and finished all demolition at the site in 2020.
The transformed site, now called the East Tennessee Technology Park, already has numerous private businesses onsite along with large conservation areas and a national park. The K-25 Building footprint is within the Manhattan Project National Historical Park, a unit of the National Park Service that contains sites in Oak Ridge; Los Alamos, N.M.; and Hanford, Washington.
Photo caption: Artist renderings of the new Viewing Platform, which will be located next to the recently constructed K-25 History Center overlooking the footprint of the K-25 Building. (Artist renderings by Smee + Busby Architects)