Community Liaison Council Meeting Minutes — November 21, 2013

November 21, 2013; 4:00 to 5:30 PM
Natcher Building, Conference Room D
National Institutes of Health

Opening Remarks

Ms. Mowery called the meeting to order, noting that Mr. Burklow was in a meeting and Ms. Miller was on travel. Mr. Clifford discussed how the government furlough in October affected NIH operations. Staff are just getting back to normal, and everyone is happy to be back. Many who were furloughed wanted to come in due to their love for science as ongoing experiments were shut down. Those who came in maintained good spirits and a strong commitment to the campus, said Mr. Clifford. The campus faced a host of issues, from caring for animals and patients to paying utility bills and responding to the media. Contractors, about a third of the staff, didn’t get paid; however, the credit union at NIH provided emergency, interest-free loans.

Dr. Collins held a town meeting for all employees afterward, thanking everyone for their efforts. The campus also received positive publicity about the Clinical Center and patients during the crisis.

Update: South Lawn — Tony Clifford, Office of Research Facilities

The South Lawn is a large field located just inside the south border of the NIH campus but outside the new security fence. This open space, used by the community for fun and recreation, was typically swampy most of the year due to poor drainage and soil conditions.

NIH completely renovated the field in 2005 by improving the grading for better water drainage and installing a complete underground drainage piping system similar to what is used at football fields. The field got new sod as well. NIH slated the field for additional repair, however, after discovering that a county storm water drainage pipe was discharging on the field, contributing to soil erosion and flooding at the west end.

Attempts to correct this problem on the South Lawn in 2012 revealed these concerns:

  • The proposed site location of a new storm water line was very close to existing underground electric and gas lines that cross the campus.
  • Policies at the Maryland Department of the Environment had changed, and securing a permit for excavation raised questions about the sustainability of underground piping. MDE asked NIH to find ways to have the water sink into the ground naturally.
  • NIH had recently installed many trees along the south border of the campus at the request of the community to shield future construction. Excavation for a new storm water line would adversely impact these maturing trees.

As NIH continued to develop a workable solution, nature healed the landscape and restored the area to an attractive and useful site. After conducting a re-evaluation, the Office of Research Facilities recommended that NIH not proceed with a major construction program that could damage the maturing trees. Instead, the campus will use plantings and other sustainable approaches to encourage absorption of storm water and limit potential erosion. Money that the ORF set aside for this repair can go back into its budget.

Mr. Clifford presented pictures of the South Lawn today and the storm water outfall improvement efforts. Should problems reoccur on that site, the campus will allow the water to settle into a large drywell. The campus and community have come full circle and found a way to settle the problem, said Mr. Clifford.

Round Robin / Q and A’s

Mr. Schools reported

  • AARP put NIH at the top of its 2013 list of Best Employers for Workers Over Age 50.
  • The NIH Philharmonia Orchestra will present at 7:30 p.m. on Dec. 7 at St. Elizabeth Catholic Church (917 Montrose Rd., Rockville, MD). Tickets are free.

CLC members who need to update their annual campus badges should contact Sharon Robinson ahead of time for assistance with parking stickers.


The meeting adjourned at 5:10 p.m. The next meeting will occur January 16, 2014.


CLC Members
Marian Bradford, Camelot Mews
Margaret Dittemore, Huntington Terrace
Darrell Lemke, Parkview
Marilyn Mazuzan, Oakmont
Ralph Schofer, Maplewood

NIH Staff
Tony Clifford, OD/OM/ORFDO/DEP
Brad Moss, ORS
Tara Mowery, OCL
Phil Neuberg
Sharon Robinson, OCL
Randy Schools

Laura Jackson, Audio Associates

This page last reviewed on March 9, 2017