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Home > MSFC Landmarks & Facilities > Building 4200: Historic Legacy Stands Tall

Building 4200: Historic Legacy Stands Tall

by Bob Jaques
The writer, employed by ASRI, is a Marshall Center historian

Photo showing the construction of Bldg. 4200.  Photo taken by Marshall Imaging Service on March 21, 1962. It was 39 years ago that about 1,200 Marshall Space Flight
Center employees began moving into the new Central
Laboratory and Office Building. The building now is officially the Marshall Space Flight Center Headquarters Building - but most team members simply refer to it as Bldg. 4200.

Between October 1961 and June 1963, while the building was being constructed, many Marshall employees worked in leased space at the Twickenham Building and the Quick Building in downtown Huntsville. These temporary office sites helped to alleviate crowded conditions at Marshall.

Realizing the need for a larger office structure, on Aug. 8, 1961, Marshall accepted a $4 million bid for construction of a nine-story, 227,000-square-foot facility with a 3,000-square-foot library, cafeteria, and 400-seat auditorium. The new building was planned and built under the supervision of the Marshall Facilities
Engineering Office.

When Bldg. 4200 was completed in July 1963, the total cost was $4.4 million, contained 235,650 square feet, and stood 157 feet tall. In today's dollars, the building replacement cost would be almost $30 million. From the time the Marshall Center began operations on July 1, 1960 - until July 1963 - its headquarters was located in the Army Ballistic Missile Agency Headquarters, Bldg. 4488 on Martin Road.

Photo: The Central Laboratory and Office Building on March 29, 1963, about four months before Dr. Wernher von Braun and his staff moved into the building.The move into the new Central Laboratory and Office Building was the largest mass employee relocation ever undertaken at Marshall at that time. Throughout the month of July 1963, engineering and specialty offices from other buildings around the Center continued to move into the new building.

On July 20 and 21, Center Director Dr. Wernher von Braun and his staff moved from Bldg. 4488 to the ninth floor and penthouse of Bldg. 4200. Marshall Center Director Art Stephenson now occupies Dr. von Braun's former office on the ninth floor.

The Center's Central Laboratory and Office Building was thefirst and largest of three
buildings to be located in a triangle on Rideout Road. The other two buildings were completed and occupied in the summer of 1964 - the Engineering and Administration Building, referred to as Bldg. 4201, and the Project Engineer Office Building, or Bldg. 4202.

Unfortunately, historic records do not clearly show when the name changed from the Central Laboratory and Office Building to the Marshall Space Flight Center Headquarters Building.

After almost 40 years, this unique and historic building on Rideout Road retains its prominence to visitors and employees alike.

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