Construction work on the National Centre for Physical and Technology Sciences in Vilnius begins

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A symbolic capsule with a letter addressed to researchers of the future was buried with the help of the President of the Republic of Lithuania, Dalia Grybauskaite, on the 11th of October to mark the official start of building work on the National Centre for Physical and Technology Sciences (NFTMC). A consortium led by the intelligent engineering solutions provider, FIMA, and construction company Hidrostatyba will build an advanced science centre in the Saulėtekis Valley with work scheduled to be completed in the spring of 2015.

FIMA's engineers will equip nine laboratories to the highest cleanroom standards and will also design and install more than 30 engineering systems throughout the complex.

"Today the National Centre for Physical and Technology Sciences is, without a doubt, one of the most sophisticated science infrastructure projects in Lithuania. The centre will be home to 250 laboratory rooms, including laboratories that meet the highest cleanroom standards, making them unique in Lithuania. This is where important research and discoveries will take place so as a project contractor we aim to provide the best and most up-to-date conditions and environment for the researchers who will be working here," FIMA's General Manager, Gintaras Juknevičius, said at the event to mark the start of construction.

Laboratories that fall within the ISO5 – ISO7 cleanroom classes, often referred to as 'cleanrooms', will measure a combined total of almost 500 square metres in floor space. FIMA's specialists will provide all the necessary technical infrastructure on the site ranging from providing 'room-in-room' facilities to customised ventilation, a deionised water supply and other electronic systems.

“The cleanrooms will be designed and equipped so as to ensure the maximum protection against environmental contamination including exposure to dust, microbes, radio waves and the sun. Lithuania currently has few such laboratory facilities so we recognise that the task ahead of us is really ambitious. And yet our previous experience with labs at the National Public Healthcare Laboratory which had the very high biological safety levels III and II proved invaluable when we designed engineering systems for the cleanrooms," Jonas Jablonskis, director of FIMA’s Contractor Solutions Department, said.

According to Mr Jablonskis, as well as installing traditional building systems such as security, power supply and building operation systems and server rooms, FIMA will also install equipment tailored specifically to the centre's needs. For example, 150 fume cupboards for laboratory research will be provided in all the centre’s laboratories. This equipment requires special preparation because, depending on the type of research performed, it needs to be equipped with vacuum, deionised water and technological gas among other things.

"All the engineering systems throughout the building will be state-of-the-art, reliable and easy to operate and will help save energy. We designed them focusing on the needs and convenience of the operating staff – advanced technology means that the building’s systems will be quick and easy to operate," Mr Jablonskis added.

The centre will total close to 25,000 square metres in floor space meaning that more than 700 researchers and students will be able to work there at the same time. Some of the labs will also be open to business. The total value of the project is close to LTL 240 million of which the major share (85 per cent) has been funded from EU Structural Funds. The total allocation to build the centre is LTL 130 million with another LTL 107 million to procure the equipment.

Photos from the official start of construction of the National Centre for Physical and Technology Sciences – the ceremony of digging in the symbolic capsule