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NIH-RTP Master Plan

The National Institutes of Health maintains a campus of 377 acres within Research Triangle Park (RTP), Durham County, North Carolina which is home to the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), one of 27 Institutes or Centers that comprise NIH.  NIEHS carries out pioneering research aimed at reducing the burden of human illness and disability by understanding how the environment influences the development and progression of human disease.  More information about NIEHS may be found at

The original NIH-RTP campus, formerly called the U.S. Public Health Service Research Park, was deeded to the U.S. Surgeon General in 1967 as the permanent home for the Division of Environmental Health Sciences (now NIEHS).  A master plan for the entire 509 acre site was completed in 1971 and an Environmental Impact Statement was completed in 1976.  The master plan envisioned four research centers organized around a 28-acre lake and connected by a loop road.  Construction of the primary laboratory building, the David P. Rall Building, started shortly thereafter in 1976-1977.  Also constructed at that time were the support buildings that comprise the Central Utility Plant.  An addition to the Rall Building, consisting of laboratories and an MRI building, was completed in 1995.  The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency shares part of the campus and occupies 138 acres to the east and north of the lake. 


The NIH-RTP Master Plan will assure an environment on the campus that is conducive to accomplishing the NIEHS mission and will provide a physical framework for evolving NIEHS and NIH biomedical research programs.  Among the Plan’s objectives are to:


Create a lively campus that reflects the round-the-clock nature of research
Provide appropriate laboratory and support facilities for research programs and their evolving requirements, including a permanent clinical research facility and a conference center
Provide suitable employee amenities
Create facilities to foster community outreach
Protect and enhance the natural environment through adherence to sustainable design principles and practices

Why does the RTP Campus need a Master Plan?

The original master plan for the site is now 35 years old and is outdated.  The new Plan will help NIH and NIEHS determine how the campus should evolve over the next 20 years to meet current and future research needs while ensuring community and outside agency involvement in the planning process.  In addition, the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) now requires its Operating Divisions (e.g. NIH) to prepare and maintain master plans for campuses under their control.  This Master Plan will satisfy the DHHS requirement.


How can the public participate in this process?

A community kick-off meeting was held on March 30, 2007 to provide information regarding the purpose, process, and vision for the Master Plan.


RTP Community Kick-Off Meeting Presentation.ppt

In accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act and the Council on Environmental Quality regulations, a public Scoping Meeting is planned for fall 2007.  This meeting is intended as a means for the community and public agencies to provide NIH with comments regarding proposed master plan alternatives and to raise issues the public believes NIH should address in the master plan and environmental document. 


What role does the National Environmental Policy Act play in the master planning process?

DHHS requires that its Operating Divisions comply with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and DHHS environmental regulations in completing master plans.  The Scoping process will help in determining whether an Environmental Assessment (EA) or an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) will be required.  NIH currently plans to prepare an EA to fulfill the master plan environmental review and documentation requirements. 


Who is involved in the master planning process?

A NIH-RTP Campus Master Plan Steering Committee has been formed to help guide and oversee the development of the Plan.  This group, comprised of senior NIH and NIEHS officials, will serve as a sounding board for planning ideas and Master Plan items to be developed by the Project Team.  They include:

NIEHS, Director
NIEHS, Associate Director for Management
NIEHS, Facilities Liaison
ORF, Director
ORF, Director, Division of Facilities Planning
ORF, Director, Southern Region
ORF, Director, Division of Environmental Protection
ORS, Director, Division of Physical Security Management
ORS, Director, Division of Employee Services
ORS, Science Resource Manager

The Project Team consists of:

ORF, Division of Facilities Planning, Project Officer
ORF, Division of Facilities Planning, NIH Master Planner
ORF, Director, Southern Region
ORF, Division of Environmental Protection Representatives (NEPA)
NIEHS, Facilities Liaison
Metropolitan Architects & Planners (Prime Master Planning Consultant)
Gruzen Samton Architects (Master Planning Consultant)

Current and easily retrievable information about the Plan will be available on this web site.  Those interested are encouraged to visit this web page on a regular basis to obtain current information. 


What are the major master planning milestones?

Begin data collection and analysis of existing conditions – Late Fall 2006

Project future campus population and space – Spring-Early Summer 2007

Develop Master Plan Alternatives – Summer 2007

Issue Notice of NEPA Scoping Meeting – Late Summer 2007

Hold Scoping Meeting – Fall 2007

Prepare Draft Master Plan & Environmental Document – Winter-Spring 2008

Final Master Plan & Environmental Document – Fall 2008


What is the Status Report of the NIH-RTP Campus Master Plan as of April 2007?

The Project Team is finishing their analysis of existing conditions and is developing draft chapters of the Existing Building Conditions and Analysis Report.  Completed draft chapters are currently undergoing review by facilities planning staff.


The Project Team is also starting development of a draft master plan program for the campus, working in conjunction with NIEHS and ORF.  Projected program and facility needs will be arranged in five-year increments covering a 20-year planning horizon.  This programming effort should be complete in early summer 2007.


Following the establishment of the proposed program, the team will develop three alternative concepts for the Master Plan, which will be offered for public comment in conjunction with the NEPA Scoping process.  These alternatives will differ slightly and consider, for example, variations to animal facilities and research laboratories, a mix of campus amenities, sustainability opportunities and campus population growth projections.   


Who do I Contact if I have Questions Regarding the Master Plan?

Anyone with questions or comments may contact the NIH Project Officer as follows:

Walter Armstrong, Facilities Planner
Division of Facilities Planning, Office of Research Facilities
National Institutes of Health
31 Center Drive, Room 3B44, MSC 2162
Bethesda, MD 20892-2162
Telephone: 301-496-5037  FAX: 301-402-0017

The Acting NIH Master Planner is Phillip Neuberg.  He may also be contacted as follows:

Phillip Neuberg, RA
Division of Facilities Planning, Office of Research Facilities
National Institutes of Health
13 South Drive, Suite 1325
Bethesda, MD 20892
Telephone: 301-496-5037  FAX: 301-402-0017



This page was last updated on Nov 27, 2012