The FBI in Houston is now green

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The FBI in Houston is now green

Postby Hitoru » Tue Nov 03, 2009 6:10 am

I've been watching them build this thing for the past six or so years, I could tell it was up-armored from the start and I mentioned awhile back on the flag how I thought it would add to my permanent file if I posted a picture. But hey, someone did it for me.

Image

FBI building very green — in both senses of the word
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JAMES NIELSEN/Houston Chronicle
The FBI building can be seen from U.S. 290 on Houston's northwest side.
No corners cut

The FBI's new $81 million field headquarters is high-tech and energy-efficient. Some of its features:

* Located on 10 acres that used to be a horse farm
* Protected by security fencing and artificial berms
* Wrapped in a blast curtain
* Equipped with thick glass and surveillance cameras
* Unnamed because only Congress can name it.

Source: FBI
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By Dane Schiller - Houston Chronicle

HOUSTON — Call it Emerald City or Green Monster, but the FBI's nameless new $81 million super building is high-tech and energy-efficient, built to hold off enemies from bomb-laden trucks to hurricanes.

The feds say its actual strength is a secret.

What makes it especially different is that the eight-story building is not only startlingly green, but also the first FBI building the government has built and owns — rather than leases — since the Oklahoma City bombing attack of 1995.

After the federal building there was shredded by explosives, Washington began evaluating vulnerabilities to terrorism and establishing minimum security standards.

The long, narrow building sits on what was a horse farm and rises from the edge of a residential neighborhood and a scattering of strip centers near West 43rd Street and the Northwest Freeway.

The 10-acre compound is not on nearby Hoover Street, but Justice Park Drive.

It is surrounded by ultra-strong fencing, artificial berms covered with grass, and hefty traffic barriers.

There is no sign yet to identify it as the FBI's Houston Field Division headquarters, which on any given day houses 600 people, including agents, contractors and task-force officers.

It has no name, as naming requires an act of Congress.

The 305,438-square-foot building has space nearly equal to seven football fields.

It blends security and environmental concerns in a way that awes architects, but raises local eyebrows.

"It is pretty ugly, for me. As long as it is safe," said Jerry Gerhardt, a relief manager for a storage facility. "A builder told me it would withstand a nuclear bomb. He said, 'I guarantee you it won't blow this building down.' "

According to agent Roel Carranza, who has overseen the project since 2001, what looks like green scaffolding along three sides is a glass-and-mesh blast shield. Known as a "curtain wall," it also shades the building from the sun to help regulate inside air temperature and save energy.

The FBI took an active role in design and construction to ensure the building met the bureau's needs and wasn't compromised, officials said.

Over nine years, 5,000 workers — "from the owner of the company to the guy pushing a wheelbarrow," Carranza said — underwent background checks, which included fingerprinting.

Even an owl that found its way inside was investigated, the agent joked.

Some of the prospective workers had outstanding warrants, Carranza said.

"It was: 'Empty your pockets, up against the wall' and click, click," he said. "They'd leave in handcuffs."

Modern amenities

Inside, the FBI field headquarters is thoroughly modern and leaves no doubt that this is not your average office building.

Thick glass and surveillance cameras abound.

Infrared sensors automatically shut off lights when rooms appear empty.

Air-conditioning vents circulate air from the floor up.

There's an eight-bay maintenance shop for the bureau's fleet of vehicles, a jogging path and a nurses' office.

In its command and control center, more than 100 people can operate computers and work phones in a crisis.

On the sixth floor, there's already been an adjustment: There is no room number 666. It was changed to 669.

Most of all, the FBI said, the building has room.

Agents were previously spread about town as well as packed in a building on T.C. Jester Drive.

Outside, there is a bit of worry that the Green Monster might attract terrorists, but also hope that it will upgrade the area.

"I feel like it might keep the mischief out of here," said resident Nellie Petrash. "On the other hand," she said, "you wonder if terrorists might decide to try and bomb it."

Sophanny Suy, who works at Donald's Donuts, said the FBI is good for business and makes her feel safe.

"I am scared of coming to the store. I never know what is going to happen," she said. "I am glad they are around."
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Re: The FBI in Houston is now green

Postby Woodsman » Tue Nov 03, 2009 10:22 pm

Hitoru wrote:"A builder told me it would withstand a nuclear bomb. He said, 'I guarantee you it won't blow this building down.' "


Yeah right.


On the sixth floor, there's already been an adjustment: There is no room number 666. It was changed to 669.


Chicken shits.

Sophanny Suy, who works at Donald's Donuts, said the FBI is good for business


I'll bet they are.
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Re: The FBI in Houston is now green

Postby Caliban » Wed Nov 04, 2009 12:44 pm

It may well withstand a nuclear blast but putting that big cross on the side of the building at 747 crash height is just tempting fate
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Re: The FBI in Houston is now green

Postby Woodsman » Wed Nov 04, 2009 2:32 pm

Caliban wrote:It may well withstand a nuclear blast but putting that big cross on the side of the building at 747 crash height is just tempting fate


Well done, Cal! LOL!
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