Originally created 11/15/00

County approves new lab



AIKEN - A proposed $2.7 million laboratory to be constructed at Savannah River Research Campus won preliminary approval Tuesday from Aiken County.

The proposal was presented to the Aiken County Administrative Committee by Jochen H. Ewing, manager of the campus.

The building would be leased by Westinghouse, which manages Savannah River Site for the federal government. The new laboratory would be about 20,000 square feet.

Mr. Ewing said the county would pay the costs of construction with a bond issue, which would be paid back from revenues derived from leasing the facility. Payout during the expected eight-year term of the lease, which would give Westinghouse a two-year option, would be $3.68 million, Mr. Ewing said. The term of the lease has not been definitely settled, Mr. Ewing said, but Westinghouse is leaning toward the eight-year agreement.

Westinghouse would pay the costs of construction and equipment if the company moved out of the facility prior to the end of the lease, Mr. Ewing said.

"I think it's a good deal for the county," Mr. Ewing said.

He noted that in addition to leasing the laboratory building, Westinghouse would lease office space in the existing campus building.

Mr. Ewing said that it was important to move quickly on the project, because Westinghouse could seek a similar facility somewhere else if the project were delayed.

The Administrative Committee voted to recommend to the full county council that the proposal be approved during the council's meeting next week.

Reach Rick Green at (803) 279-6895 or ckirkland@augustachronicle.com.