Timeline of Mesa Laboratory Development

  • The Committee on Meteorology recommends formation of a national

    institute dedicated to the study of atmospheric science

Construction workers building the Mesa Lab

  • 14 universities incorporate as UCAR
  • UCAR contracts with NSF to found NCAR
  • Walter Orr Roberts is chosen as director of NCAR and president of UCAR
  • Table Mesa, in Boulder, CO is chosen as the site for NCAR’s Laboratories
  • The city of Boulder permits NCAR to proceed with the laboratory construction and supplies water to NCAR.
  • The state of Colorado purchases the Table Mesa site and donates it to NSF.
  • I.M. Pei is unanimously selected as the architect to design the Mesa Laboratory
  • Martin K. Eby Construction Company is awarded the contract to build the lab
  • Ground is broken later that year

Construction of the Mesa Lab

  • By September NCAR staff occupy the new laboratory
  • A dedication ceremony celebrates the new NCAR Mesa Laboratory
  • The Fleischmann Building, which houses UCAR administration, is completed
  • An addition to the Mesa Laboratory is completed to accommodate the Scientific Computing Division and its massive supercomputers

Plantings in the Tree Plaza

  • An addition to the Mesa Laboratory is completed to accommodate the High Altitude Observatory
  • Renovation of the existing Mesa Laboratory


(Paraphrased from “The National Center for Atmospheric Research: An Architectural Masterpiece” by Lucy Warner)