Plans for building the K-25 History Center are moving forward. In December 2013, the Department of Energy completed its demolition of the historic K-25 gaseous diffusion plant, once the largest roofed building in the world.
In an August 2012 "memorandum of agreement" with preservationists and other parties, DOE promised to "mitigate" the demolition of the building by creating a history center, building a viewing tower of K-25's original footprint, and developing exhibits on the site's role in the Manhattan Project and the Cold War.
On October 19, DOE and UCOR, DOE's cleanup contractor in Oak Ridge, hosted a walk-through for the public of the future home of the K-25 History Center. The center will be on the second floor of Oak Ridge's Fire Station Number 4 in East Tennessee Technology Park. According to Oak Ridge Today, the history center "will be 7,500 square feet, and it will include exhibits, a theater, oral histories, and a few hundred artifacts."
Construction on the history center, along with an Equipment Building and 67-foot Viewing Tower of the K-25 Plant's footprint, is expected to begin in 2018 with the goal of finishing in 2019. The total costs for the project are estimated at $20 million.
The event on the 19th included tributes to Bill Wilcox, who passed away in 2013. A Manhattan Project veteran, Bill worked at Y-12 for five years and then at K-25 for 20 years, retiring as Technical Director for Union Carbide Nuclear Division. A tireless advocate for preserving Oak Ridge's historic sites, Bill served as Oak Ridge's official historian for many years. Ray Smith, Bill's friend who succeeded him as official historian, said, "He would have been really proud. His legacy lives on."
For more information, please see Oak Ridge Today's reporting on the project: The legacy of Bill Wilcox lives on at K-25 History Center and Photos: DOE, UCOR announce K-25 History Center plans.