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Building 888

Rocky Flats Plant, Guardhouse
HAER No. CO-83-D (Rocky Flats Plant, Building 888)

Note: The documentation for Building 888 also represents other guardhouses, including Buildings 446, 461, 557, 773, 864, and 992.

Rocky Flats Environmental Technology Site, Highway 93, Golden, Jefferson County, Colorado. Building 888 is located in the eastern portion of the industrial area, northwest of Building 886 (the Critical Mass Laboratory), on the south side of Central Avenue.

This building is a primary contributor to the Rocky Flats Plant historic district, associated with the U.S. strategy of nuclear military deterrence during the Cold War, a strategy considered of major importance in preventing Soviet nuclear attack. As a top-secret weapons production plant, safeguarding design secrets and later, the number of weapons being produced was of prime importance at the Rocky Flats Plant. Building 888 is one of seven guardhouses used to control access to designated security areas within the Industrial Area.

Building 888, built in 1964, is 20 by 20 feet (400 square feet) with windows on all four sides. The building is a small one-room concrete building with a flat roof. The windows are large (fixed), single pane with metal sashes; the doors are metal. Building 446, built in 1952, is 23 by 13 feet (299 square feet) with windows on four sides. This guardhouse is located to the north of Building 444, the depleted uranium and beryllium production facility. Building 461, built in 1985, is 20 by 20 feet (400 square feet) with windows on all four sides. This building is located south of Building 460, the non-plutonium (primarily stainless-steel) pit components facility. Building 557, built in 1968, is 13 by 26 feet (338 square feet) with windows on two sides. It is located within the protected area, southeast of Building 559, the chemical analytical laboratory for plutonium production. Building 773, built in 1952, is 14 by 14 feet (196 square feet) with windows on four sides. It is located northwest of Building 771, the original plutonium fabrication facility. Building 992, built in 1951, is a two-story building, 16 by 16 feet (256 square feet), with a second floor observation deck. This guardhouse is located in the southwest corner of the protected area, southwest of Building 991, the final assembly facility for weapons components.

As a top-secret weapons production plant, the Rocky Flats Plant was concerned with security precautions from its inception. According to a former security deputy, in the early years plant security personnel were concerned with the Cold War, espionage, and the secrecy associated with building nuclear weapons. Safeguarding design secrets and later, the number of weapons being produced was of prime importance. Classified documents were available only on a "need-to-know" basis, all employees were required to qualify for a Q clearance, a high-level security clearance for atomic workers requiring a 15-year background check. Employees were forbidden to talk about their work with anyone.

The security or protective force regulated plant and interplant access, provided security patrol and checks, and escorted plant shipments. The security force also maintained a weapons arsenal, trained new security police officers, investigated violations of federal laws, and maintained a liaison with federal and local law enforcement agencies. A highly trained special response team could respond to actual or potential incidents, such as hostage situations, barricade incidents, or other emergencies. The security forces were responsible for material control and accountability, computer security, personnel security, classified material security, access control, and security protection for special nuclear materials at the Rocky Flats Plant.

The security facilities distributed across the plant site included more than 25 buildings. The security facilities can be divided into groups based on similarity in use. Buildings 446, 461, 557, 773, 864, 888, and 992 were used to control access to designated security areas (i.e., a production building and its complex). Each of the four original letter-named plants had its own guardhouse: Building 446 for Plant A (Building 444); Building 864 for Plant B (Building 881), Building 773 for Plant C (Building771), and Building 992 for Plant D (Building 991). As new production plants were built, individual guardhouses were also constructed for them. Guardhouse 888 was built in 1964, close to the Critical Mass Laboratory (the Building 886 complex); guardhouse 461 was built in 1985 for the stainless steel fabrication plant (the Building 460 complex); and guardhouse 557 was built in 1967 near the Chemical Analytical Laboratory (the Building 559 complex). Day-to-day operations and emergency operations varied little for these security facilities. The guards were responsible for securing the buildings (locking gates and doors) and controlling access. Security was provided for these areas 24 hours a day. However, during off-shifts, weekends, and holidays, the security guards may have been in the production buildings on patrol or in the guardhouse (Newby).

Newby, Ronald, employed at the plant since 1967 by the site contractor. Personal communication,
January 1997.

United States Department of Energy. Final Cultural Resources Survey Report (1995), by Science Applications International Corporation. Rocky Flats Repository. Golden, Colorado, 1995.

United States Department of Energy. Site Safety Analysis Report, Notebook 13-Security (1995), by EG&G. Rocky Flats Plant Repository. Golden, Colorado, 1995.

D. Jayne Aaron, Environmental Designer, engineering-environmental Management, 1997. Judith Berryman, Ph.D., Archaeologist, engineering-environmental Management, 1997.

Index to Photographs

Located northwest of Building 886, just south of Central Avenue, Golden Vicinity, Jefferson County, Colorado.

Photographs by Timothy McGrath and Katherine T. Abeyta, Source One, site photography contractor, spring 1997.

CO-83-D-1 – View looking south at the north elevation of Building 888. Building 888 is one of seven guardhouses used to control access to designated security areas within the industrial area.