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» Saturday, April 12, 2008Warily Going Where Everyone Has Gone Before
I'm not sure how everyone envisions CDC in Atlanta. I know many people imagine it as one enormous building, perhaps with several wings and perhaps the animal laboratories off somewhere to the side.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is actually all over Atlanta. We have office space in Koger Center (where I am; we used to rent a building in Buckhead when I started there), Executive Park, Corporate Square, Lawrenceville, and on Buford Highway (the new warehouse; the old one was in Tucker). We also have offices in Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Morgantown (West Virginia), Spokane, Fort Collins (Colorado), and Puerto Rico (I've missed someone, I know...).
The main campus, however, is on Clifton Road, what is now known as the Roybal Campus. It started out, predictably, with Building 1, which was your typical low-slung 50s building, and like Topsy in Uncle Tom's Cabin, "just growed." As each building was built and, occasionally, connected with covered walkways, more people came to work there. At the time I started, there was a small visitor's parking area to the left of Building 1; if you worked there, you descended into a long, ugly, ever-expanding parking lot and had a hike up to the main building. Later, they put a parking garage and then the entrance at the right of the building. The parking garage never had any spaces, even if you acquired a government car to go there, and any time of the day you could find people circling the garage in frustration, or heading out to the big parking lot way out in the back.
You might then understand that when my supervisor asked that I attend "Green Training" yesterday that I might be a bit perturbed. I knew they were still building out there, and I hadn't been there forliterallyyears. (Last time I went there Building 16 was still the "new" building.) What on earth was the parking like now? I knew they even had a satellite parking lot and a shuttle for those who came in to work later in the day (read 8 a.m.).
I decided my best strategy was to get up at six as usual and go straight there, even though the training started at eight, so I could miss the parade of traffic from Briarcliff Road turning on to Clifton and have time to hike from whatever parking lot I ended up in. I was still wary because I knew a lot of folks went in early to beat the traffic.
To my utter astonishment, not only wasn't there any traffic, but as I pulled past the entrance gate after having my badge and tags checked, there was a parking garage right up ahead, and across from building entrances! The last time I'd been here you either went into the old garage or descended the hill into the lot and it was a long climb up to any door, many of them which didn't open to people from off-campus. I entered the garage and immediately found a space on the same level as the buildings and just walked to one of the two buildings I was near to ask for directions. Turned out that Auditorium B (which used to be in Building 1) and its A "counterpart" were in the building I had not walked into.
In contrast to the old-hospital-like narrow corridors of most of the old buildings, this had the usual big atrium of new buildings. (All the newer buildings, I learned at the training, were all "green" technology.) Despite traffic, having to ask directions, etc. I still got there by 7:30, so I went downstairs where they had a small, sleek cafeteria like the new ones they are installing in hospitals and had a bagel. The far wall was all windows and overlooked a lovely little sloped expanse of a pond with a fountain surrounded by bushes (some of the flowering kind), flowering and willow trees, and woodchipped landscaping.
I attended all the morning panels, talked with the ThermoFisher Scientific people for a while (I'd hoped to meet my rep, Ginger, but she had injured herself working out the previous night), then opted out of lunch to go visit the used bookstore on Clairmont Road. But before I headed out to Clairmont, I walked around the back of the building and found the pathway into that gorgeous little nook with the pond and the trees. It was even prettier from the outside.
Anyway, I was burning daylight, so I went on, but the experience, obviously, was more pleasant than I expected.
(Got some good deals at the bookstore, too, including a book about Boston that was written in 1957in other words, pre-Government Centerand something called From the Crash to the Blitz: 1929 to 1939, full of photos and advertisements along with the text.
And a third book, but that's the subject of another post.)
The day went downhill from there. I was in the sun all the way home and by the time I got in and went back to work, was very severely overheated. I finally gave up in disgust, closed the windows one by one (after washing off each windowsill with Windex, since they were all coated with yellow pine pollen) and turned on the air conditioner. It was over 80°F out and almost as warm inside and I couldn't bear it.
On my way home I did go by "the old place": Cross Keys Drive, where I originally lived when I moved to Atlanta, in the Peachtree Garden Apartments, right near Olgethorpe University. As we had noticed in surprise when we drove past there in December, the Peachtree Garden Apartments are no moreback in December the buildings had all been demolished; now the roads are even gone and the former hollow down in the woods appears to be being built up and leveled for some large buildings. The "Cubbyhole" (it was a studio apartment) hadn't been the best place I'd ever lived, but a lot of nice times had gone on there.