2002-03 Photos--Dark Sector Laboratory

DSL, as this structure is normally known, has a rather torturous history. It was the last of the four "blue buildings" to be erected (in the mid 90's there was a bit of extra money so four prefabricated berthing buildings were purchased, and this of course was long before the elevated station had been conceived of...anyway by now we know that none of these structures is currently used for berthing). The foundation and basic shell were put up in 1999-2000...and then it sat essentially untouched for three winters and two summers. Meanwhile...the Antarctic support contractor shifted from ASA to Raytheon (RPSC), and plans for use of DSL went through a number of changes. One of the intended uses was to house projects formerly located in the domed station and its various outbuildings; at the same time, CMBR telescope projects and other new science was also considered...but as the 2002-03 summer began, no firm usage assignments had been made. Still, there was a bit of urgency to move the structure toward completion so that it would be available when needed.

DSL as it sat from February 1999 to October 2002
First, a couple of views of the building as it had been since February 2000. Here's the front (Carlton Walker photo). (More of his 1999-2000 photos of the original construction).
back side of DSL
Here's a view of the back side, cropped from a NSF aerial photo at the beginning of the 2002-03 summer.
north side of DSL working on window openings
Early in the 2002-03 season, scaffold was up to support work on the north (back) side.
new penthouse construction
Another look...yes, there is something new...a penthouse. More on that later.
front side of DSL and platform construction
Here's the front/south side with some of the siding installed and the platforms under construction.
front side of DSL
Another view from a bit more to the right.
east side of DSL
Looking at the east side. Those black pipe markers indicate AMANDA drill holes (Jerry Marty).
east side of DSL
A closer look. This was taken on 3 January (Jerry Marty).
west side of DSL
The west side, where the South Pole Telescope would appear in a few years.
almost finished
25 January, almost finished for the season (Jerry Marty)...
end of season view
...another view.
northeast corner room
A few first floor interior shots...here's the room in the northeast corner, also being used as the crew break area.
southeast corner room
The southeast corner room...these two areas would later be combined and walled off to house the SPT load leveler.
future SPT work area
Looking west across the north room toward the future hallway to SPT.
watch your feet This photo is a bit confusing. Obviously it's Jerry Marty...but as for the location, that's a hard one. The only place with a narrow hallway next to multiple windows is the stairwell. So I'm thinking this is the second floor (with a temporary work platform for the carps above the stairway opening). The window behind Jerry's hardhat? Remember this building was prefabbed as a berthing structure with the precut window openings. That window would later be replaced with an exterior door. Anybody with a better idea, please let me hear it!
DSL in March 2005
A few more things were done to the building since then... some more handrail, some HVAC vents, the permanent boiler stack, and the crane mast on the roof. The crane mast (and the crane) would be relocated to the second floor platform for use in loading liquid helium dewars among other things. This is my March 2005 photo.

Now, about that penthouse. It wasn't part of the original design...but it was obviously planned and constructed to house some of the projects that were located in Skylab at the time. The interior included a central lobby and four experiment rooms (two on the east and two on the west sides). These were painted black for light exclusion and had sliding doors and roof hatch openings. Like the Skylab roof, there was no perimeter safety railing. Anyway...the plans changed with new people...safety standards...and experiment requirements....

After the 2002-03 summer construction, some interior work continued during the winter, but then the building sat empty and mostly unheated (except for a few small insulated electronics boxes inside which supported nearby projects such as the VLF hut) until the 2004-05 summer and 2005 winter when more finish work was done. In 2005-06 it finally was fitted out enough for occupancy by the BICEP project. I've got more penthouse photos and discussion here, where I also depict people making it go away.

Unless otherwise noted, the photos are from, uh, a summer photo CD put together and distributed by the 2002-03 folks...and the contributing photographers were not identified...sorry. I think most of them also are from Jerry Marty.


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