Source: The Oak Ridger | Ben Pounds | March 4, 2019

A rendering of K-25 History Center, right, and equipment building. (DAVID BROWN/SYNERGY SOLUTIONS)

David Adler, acting deputy manager of environmental management for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge Environmental Management, said DOE expects to have a museum ready to open at the K-25 site by September.

The museum, to be called the K-25 History Center, will be on the second floor of a nearby fire house.

K-25 was a site for gaseous diffusion used to enrich uranium during War II. It was part of the Manhattan Project, preparing the bombs which fell on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan.

At present, private industry is moving into much of the general K-25 area, now known as East Tennessee Technology Park. However, the planned museum will preserve the site’s past for visitors.

Adler made the announcement about the museum during comments he made to Oak Ridge City Council at a recent work session.

As Adler explained to Council, DOE had agreed in a 2012 memorandum of understanding with the city to create a history museum on the second floor of the site’s fire station; create an equipment building that is a replica of the equipment used to enrich uranium on the site; and create a viewing tower.

Adler said DOE did not plan to “back out of any of these commitments,” although he did request the city approve an amended version that “reflects the reality of our schedule and limitations.” Adler said the original MOU had called for everything to be done by 2017.

“That’s not what we’re doing, but we are making substantial progress toward completion,” he said. While the museum will be complete this fall, he said, the “balance” of the new facilities will be constructed by 2021.

“That’s probably a practical time frame because that’s when all the cleanup work will be done out there on the footprint of the (old K-25 facility). It doesn’t make a lot of sense to open up the park and have a big party and not be able to let people go out and play on the (K-25 site) park,” Adler said. “Once we dig out all the dirt that we need to dig out of that site, which has proven to be a lot more dirt than we anticipated, we will have the world’s largest slab,” he said, regarding the old K-25 building’s footprint.

Amy Fitzgerald, city government affairs director, said the city will vote on the amendment to extend the deadline for the K-25 projects.

A DOE YouTube video shows the details of these future facilities, including the K-25 History Center. It will span 7,500 square feet. It will include a 4,400 square foot exhibit gallery and a 50-seat theater with space for additional seating. It will also have an archives and study room. The video shows a 3D computer generated model of the theater and Manhattan Project Exhibits.

“There are no safety concerns for visitors interested in going to the K-25 History Center. The facility is on publicly accessible land, and it is located away from our major cleanup projects,” Williams told The Oak Ridger.