ARRA funds SCRF work at Fermilab

From Fermilab Today: About 200 Chicago-area tradespeople will find work constructing Fermilab’s first superconducting radio-frequency cryomodule test facility during the next year.

Fermilab recently awarded a contract for the construction of the new facility using about $4.2 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds.

Barton Malow Co., a Michigan-based firm that also won the contract to build the New Muon Laboratory expansion, will oversee the project.

“We’re excited to stay,” said project manager Keith Wiederhold. “People here at Fermilab treat everybody really well. It’s a refreshing change after some of our experiences in the private sector.”

Since March, Barton Malow subcontractors have hired about 200 tradespeople to work on the NML expansion.

“There have been about 20 people here per week, all local,” Wiederhold said.

He expects to need a similar number of workers to build the new facility, which the company plans to finish by fall of 2011.

Wiederhold and his fellow project manager, Kyle DeHenau, moved to Naperville from Michigan about five months ago to manage the NML project. Wiederhold said it is difficult to be away from his wife and three daughters during the week, but he appreciates the opportunity to work on his first and second federal projects. He hopes these projects will open the doors to future work.

“Federal work is kind of a Catch-22,” Wiederhold said. “You usually have to have done federal work to do federal work.”

Fermilab’s first cryomodule test facility will consist of two new structures adjacent to NML. One will house the testing area and the other will house the compressor for the test area’s refrigerator.

Fermilab has been working for years to develop the new infrastructure it takes to build and test superconducting radio-frequency cavities, said Jay Theilacker of Fermilab’s Accelerator Division.

“Our future is going to involve machines that have SRF cavities in them,” Theilacker said. “Building this new facility is an important step.”

— Kathryn Grim