CDC receives funding approval for construction of West Campus
A planned expansion that will increase the size of the main campus of the
U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) by about 70 percent
could turn out to be a mixed blessing for Emory.
While the CDC will build a new facility to replace the existing Clifton
Child Care Center as part of the expansion, the additional personnel who
will work on the main CDC campus adjacent to Emory will contribute to traffic
congestion that is already overburdening local streets during morning and
afternoon rush hours.
The CDC plan
The CDC won federal approval of funding for the expansion last fall, and
construction is expected to begin in January 1998 on what the CDC is referring
to as its West Campus. CDC officials first publicly proposed the plan nearly
two years ago. With the exception of a DeKalb County fire station at the
corner of Clifton Road and Clifton Way that will remain, the plan calls
for the CDC to purchase the block bounded by Clifton Road, Clifton Way and
Michael Street, which contains the Clifton Child Care Center and a number
of private homes. Emory owns less than three acres of the 17.6-acre West
Campus site, and approximately two of those three acres are occupied by
the Clifton Child Care Center.
Bob Young, a spokesman for the General Services Administration (GSA), which
oversees land acquisition and facilities development activities for federal
agencies, said that current plans call for the Clifton Child Care Center
to remain in its current location for the next three to four years. Young
said the GSA has begun discussions with Emory, the CDC and Egleston Children's
Hospital, the current users of Clifton Child Care, regarding a new child
care center that would be located within the laboratory portion of the CDC
expansion. The new center will be constructed while the current child care
center remains in operation, then move to the new location upon its completion.
Over a 20-year period, the CDC expansion will include 695,000 square feet
of laboratory, office and support space, as well as 2,300 parking spaces.
The existing 27.6-acre CDC complex includes 884,000 square feet in 17 buildings
housing 1,900 employees, as well as 1,800 parking spaces.
The first phase of the expansion plan, completed last January, includes
the CDC's new headquarters building and an adjacent parking deck at the
corner of Clifton Road and Clifton Way. The building is directly across
the street from the West Campus expansion site.
The plan's impact
The GSA has prepared an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) examining the
long- and short-term effects of the CDC expansion. In 1995, GSA identified
three alternatives to be examined in the EIS process:
The lengthy EIS document was completed last year and published in the Federal
Register in December. The abstract that prefaces the EIS states that, "The
principal negative impacts of the preferred alternative would be the removal
of approximately 2.75 acres of urban forested habitat, the relocation of
several institutional users and additional traffic in the area. Principal
impacts from [the other two] alternatives would be even greater traffic
impacts and extensive grading. Beneficial impacts would be realized by meeting
the CDC's projected space needs."
- No action: undertaking no site acquisition and no development at all.
- Development of the West Campus site (as described above): this is
the preferred alternative of both the GSA and CDC.
- Development of CDC facilities needs outlined in the West Campus plan
on the existing main campus.
The University is cooperating fully with the CDC in the agency's efforts
to expand its facilities to meet future needs. "While the University
is not anxious to dispose of property in this area, we are certainly willing
to cooperate with our neighbor, the CDC," said Vice President for Business
Bobby Williams. "We wouldn't sell this property to just anybody."
The University, Williams added, has expressed its concerns about the expansion
to CDC officials. Those concerns include increased traffic congestion and
working to improve MARTA service in the area, as well as keeping the fire
station in its current location and replacing Clifton Child Care. Williams
said that based on the CDC's long track record as a good neighbor, the University
has every confidence that the agency will bear Emory's concerns in mind.
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