(Originally published on Knoxville News Sentinel)

Four shovels flung dirt on the former site of two World War II-era buildings at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. As rubble from the Manhattan Project buildings lay piled in the background, officials broke ground for a $95 million laboratory.

U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry and U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann, R-Tenn., joined ORNL Director Thomas Zacharia and Johnny Moore, ORNL site office manager for DOE, for the ceremony.

The Translational Research Capability facility will be built near the center of ORNL’s main campus. It will include about 100,000 square feet of space, similar to the nearby Chemicals and Materials Sciences building, completed in 2011.

About three-quarters of the building will have open-plan modular areas holding various high-tech equipment and inert environment labs, while the rest will be office and support space, according to a DOE news release.

Some labs had to move to make room for the new Frontier supercomputer, Zacharia said.

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