What does Savannah River National Lab plan in downtown Aiken?

It’s a $20 million project that could put a lot of people in downtown Aiken.
Published: Mar. 13, 2023 at 11:15 PM EDT
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AIKEN, S.C. (WRDW/WAGT) - It’s a $20 million project that could bring a lot of people to work in downtown Aiken.

But not everyone is on board with having an offshoot of the Savannah River National Laboratory, SRNL, in the heart of downtown.

First, it was Project Pascalis, and now the plan is SRNL, but the city officials say they’re still trying to work out the details to make sure it’s a good fit.

“They are talking to the lab, getting the space needs analysis, and figuring out what they would need in terms of office space, meeting space,” said Aiken City Manager Stuart Bedenbaugh.

Working with firm McMillan Pazdan Smith, Bedenbaugh says the city has a plan to preserve the historic nature of downtown while expanding the footprint.

“They’ve got some historical consultants working with them and some architects who have experience in historic preservation or design that is able to work with existing buildings and blend in,” he said.

City officials say they’re still in the preliminary stages of working with SRNL, but they’re doing their best to keep the public informed as the project progresses.

It’s nowhere close to a done deal. One of the biggest concerns at Monday’s City Council meeting was the lack of a request for a proposal for the project.

The city says they’re hoping that will come in the next couple of months from SRNL.