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SSC-Natick Press Release

U.S. Army Soldier Systems Center-Natick
Public Affairs Office
Kansas Street
Natick, MA 01760-5012

Contact: Chief, Public Affairs Office
(508) 233-5340

Date: April 25, 2003
No: 03-13

Food lab to fill out

NATICK, Mass. -- The "Blue Palace" is set to become more palatial.

A $4.1 million project approved in the 2003 Defense Appropriations Bill will expand the Department of Defense Combat Feeding Directorate laboratory at the U.S. Army Soldier Systems Center here into the existing unfinished second floor space.

The 18,650 square-foot expansion of the Food Engineering Lab, a two-year project with construction scheduled to begin later this year, brings some welcome changes.

"It'll allow us to effectively use the space on the second level, bring some of the labs closer to where the work is being done and free up space in Research Building," said Betty Davis, Performance Enhancement and Food Safety Team leader. "This is something that's overdue."

Two chemistry labs and five microbiology labs with office space, preparation rooms and instrument rooms; a new nanotechnology materials lab; two new temperature control rooms for 40 degrees F and 70 degrees F; and office space for 11 employees are the main features. The first floor food evaluation lab used for trained sensory panels will be relocated into one of the vacated chemistry labs.

"The temperature control rooms will give us extra capability we need to store operational rations undergoing shelf-life studies," said Donald Hamlin, Food Engineering Services Team leader.

New and relocated stairwells, an elevator for handicap-accessibility and two restrooms are also in the plan.

Construction is planned on the existing pre-framed second floor structure and will be spread out around the Food Pilot Plant and mechanical systems.

The project includes asbestos removal and repositioning existing utilities, equipment and ductwork within the new lab areas where there is a conflict between existing and new work.

Heating and cooling will be provided by tapping into and modifying existing systems.

The Soldier Systems Center's Combat Feeding Directorate currently serves as the "one-stop shop" for all science and technology and advanced full-scale development of military rations, and Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps food service equipment and systems.

Furthermore, the U.S. Army Soldier Systems Center gives extensive engineering support to the Defense Logistics Agency for procurement of all subsistence items and ration systems to assure continued supply of high-quality, nutritious meals to its customers.

For more information about the Soldier Systems Center, please visit our website at

This page last updated on 28 February 2003.