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Environment Secretary Samuel Bodman saved one of his last official gestures for former Sen. Pete Domenici, who retired Dec. 31 after 36 years in office.
Bodman, whose tenure will end with the advent of a new administration in Washington on Tuesday, announced a virtual memorial in Domenici’s name.
A group of buildings in the main administrative area of Los Alamos National Laboratory will be known as the “Pete V. Domenici National Security Complex.”
The designation honors “Senator Domenici’s long and distinguished career as a U.S. Senator from New Mexico and is a testament to the vision and leadership of a great public servant,” the DOE’s announcement stated.
“Senator Domenici has been a strong advocate for the important work done across the DOE complex and particularly at Los Alamos National Laboratory,” said Bodman in the press release. “He realized that it was the people at the lab, selflessly serving our country, who made the lab what it is today. I appreciate the support he gave to them, to me and to the nation.”
The honor reflects Domenici’s years of leadership on the Senate Energy and Water Appropriation Subcommittee when he shepherded funding for many projects in the Energy Department and nuclear weapons complex.
The three buildings included in the designation include the National Security Sciences Building, the main administrative office building; the Nicholas C. Metropolis Building for Modeling and Simulation, where what is currently the world’s fastest supercomputer, the Roadrunner, is housed; and the Nonproliferation and International Security Building, where the laboratory’s Threat Reduction Division has its headquarters.
During one of his last “goodbye” visits to Los Alamos in August, Domenici addressed laboratory employees and heard tributes from lab director Michael Anastasio and former directors, Harold Agnew and Robert Kuckuck, along with National Nuclear Security Administration Administrator Thomas D’Agostino.
Anastasio took the occasion to announce that the auditorium in the National Security Science Building was to be renamed the Pete V. Domenici Auditorium.
As the closed, all-employees’ meeting was portrayed in the laboratory’s Newsbulletin at the time, Domenici drew a chuckle from employees when he said, “We kind of hit it off,” after listening to the remarks.
Later, he added, “I had so many good times representing you. I think it’s pretty clear you have been a special constituency of mine.”
In all the three building, grouped together at the heart of a new administrative core, total 742,000 square feet and were a start on a larger project of renewing the infrastructure of the 60-year-old laboratory.
The 7-story National Security Science Building, where many of the senior managers work, anchors the north side of the central campus. The NSSB is the newest of the buildings, having opening in 2006 at a cost of $97 million, according to laboratory reports.
The NIST Center opened in early 2003 with 164,000 square feet and cost $63 million.
The Metropolis Center is the largest of the buildings, with 303,000 square feet. It was dedicated in 2002, at a cost of about $93 million.