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Officials Show Off New Bethesda Intelligence Base Designs

by BethesdaNow.com — February 8, 2013 at 9:30 am 0

Officials on Thursday presented a revised plan for the $300 million, 40-acre Intelligence Community Campus-Bethesda (ICC-B) at 4600 Sangamore Rd. that largely does away the huge existing surface parking lots in favor of landscaping that architects say will better hold rainwater and better fits into the surrounding forested area.

The new plans were met with widespread approval from nearby residents at a smaller community meeting in November. Before, many in the neighborhoods off Sangamore Road were unhappy with the potential for damage to trees around the facility, how the 3,000-person campus would affect the forest that backs up to the Potomac River and parking.

Thursday’s public presentation at a nearby school showed off architecture firm Leo A Daly’s design that includes new facades for the existing buildings, an L-shaped Centrum building to connect those structures, lots of glass and large swaths of grassy parks and bioretention areas to “create a foreground that is grounded in a much more natural setting,” architect Bill Baxley said.

The Defense Intelligence Agency is taking over the secure campus from the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, which moved to Virginia in 2011 as part of Base Realignment and Closure. The redesigned campus is expected to be complete in 2016.

The campus will include a defense university and officials said the new parking garage (already under construction) in the northwest corner of the property will have 1,800 spots. The agency also offers a shuttle service from the nearest Metro stop.

DIA officials don’t anticipate workers or students at the campus would park in neighborhoods or the shopping center across the street, as that would put them much farther away than the garage, which will be connected to the main buildings with a roughly 80-foot walkway.

A new entrance road also on the existing surface lots will have a security checkpoint deeper inside the property, thus preventing cars from queuing on Sangamore Road and moving any necessary car barriers farther from public view.

The garage is scheduled to be complete in July. Crews will start demolition of one of the campus buildings in April. In August, they plan to start foundation work on the Centrum building and in September, they plan to begin planting much of the landscaping on the north side of the campus.

Project designers are still working on a stormwater management outfall study. Officials said they’d like to repair some of the damage done to surrounding area that has been negatively affected by stormwater since the original campus was built in the 1940′s, before stormwater management restrictions.

Renderings via Army Corps of Engineers

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