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Overview: National Water Center (NWC)

  • 65,000 SF facility on the campus of University of Alabama (UA), Tuscaloosa; 205 Hackberry Lane Tuscaloosa, AL 35401

  • Green Building: NWC will be LEED Gold

  • First national water resources facility in the country that will serve as a catalyst for the Integrated Water Resources Science and Services (IWRSS) partnership, or IWRSS. Toward that end, a new partnership has been launched.

    • IWRSS, which consists of NOAA; the US Geological Survey (USGS); and the Army Corps of Engineers as its initial members, will unify and leverage each agency's expertise and investments to improve water resource forecasts, understand how water moves across the land and rivers, and facilitate creative and informed decisions--all utilizing the best available science.

  • Designed specifically for major programmatic functions:

    • Operations Center with Situation Rooms

      • Establish common operating picture for floods to droughts; begin demonstration of hourly summit-to-sea analyses and forecasts of soil moisture, evapotranspiration, and snow pack; and expand demonstration of Real-Time Dynamic Flood Inundation Mapping portraying the extent, depth, and impacts of flood waters to enhance community resiliency and enable decision makers to mitigate the impacts of floods.

    • Geo-Intelligence Laboratory

      • Develop, implement and maintain state-of-the science enterprise Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to support NWS operations

    • Collaborative Science and Software Engineering Studio

      • Optimized development environment to better share and leverage investments and advances in science, technology and modeling

    • Systems Proving Ground

      • Dedicated facility to test new capabilities prior to field implementation, minimize operational risk, and accelerate deployment from research to operations

    • Distance Learning Classroom and Auditorium

      • Facilitate cost-effective, state-of-the-art residence and distance learning to maintain and enhance technical competencies and enable field to easily leverage NWC knowledge base

  • Build Schedule

    • Design-Build contract awarded to Triune-Beck in September, 2011

    • Ceremonial ground-breaking in February 2012

      • Attended by NOAA's Dr. Kathryn Sullivan; Senator Shelby; Dr. Robert Witt, Chancellor of the University of Alabama system; William Werkheiser, USGS Associate Director of Water; members of UA Board of Trustees

    • Construction completion in December 2013. The NWC is expected to open in Spring 2014.

Feb 2012
Jun 2012
Sept 2012
Dec 2012
Jan 2013
Feb 2013
Mar 2013
Apr 2013
Apr 2013 - Basement
Apr 2013 - 1st Floor
Apr 2013 - 2nd Floor
Design Plans
Late Apr 2013

Late Apr 2013
Late Apr 2013
1st Floor
Late Apr 2013
2nd Floor
Late Apr 2013
Exterior Site

May 2013
May 2013
1st & 2nd Floor
June 2013
Exterior and Basement
June 2013
First and Second Floors
July 2013
July 2013
July 2013
First Floor

July 2013
Second Floor

July 2013

November 2013

November 2013

November 2013
First Floor

November 2013
Second Floor

Late November 2013

  • 2011

    The NOAA project management team (NWS Office of Hydrologic Development, NWS Office of Operational Support, and NOAA Office of the Chief Administrative Officer) worked closely to develop design plans and documentation for the NWC. This information was developed into bridging documents that were published as part of the design-build solicitation for the facility. The competition was held, and NOAA awarded a contract to Triune-Beck in September. Initial meetings between the NOAA project management team and Triune-Beck were held late in the year.

  • 2012

    The NOAA project management team and Triune-Beck continued the design process for the NWC as initial stages of construction began. In February, the ceremonial groundbreaking was held. The Honorable Richard Shelby was in attendance. Dr. Kathryn Sullivan was the ranking representative of NOAA, while UA President Robert Witt and members of the UA Board of Trustees also attended. Construction began in earnest in Summer 2012 and continued for the rest of the year. NOAA and Triune-Beck completed all but a few elements of the design process by December.

  • 2013

    The pace of construction has accelerated in 2013 as the facility is slated for occupation in Spring 2014. By March, most foundations had been installed. Steel erection is progressing: the sloped roof, dome and the west half of the roof framing are installed. The columns along the west colonnade are in place. The 2nd floor metal deck is largely in place. In the enclosed basement, ductwork, and piping is progressing.

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US Department of Commerce
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
National Weather Service
Office of Hydrologic Development
1325 East West Highway
Silver Spring, MD 20910

Page Author: OHD webmaster
Page last modified: February 16, 2019
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