In November of 1942, the Undersecretary of War
directed that the land recommended by the Chief of Engineers to the
Commanding General be acquired. The necessary procedures were then
instituted for acquiring this land for immediate use, the method to be
determined by ownership.
In March of 1943, the Secretary of War requested that
the Secretary of Agriculture grant authority for the War Department to
occupy and use, for as long as the military necessity existed, 45,100
acres of federally owned lands under the jurisdiction of the Forest
Service. This authority was granted in April 1943.
Arrangements were to be made between the Commanding Officer of Project Y
and the Regional Forester as Albuquerque, NM for the prevention and
suppression of fires and the marking of areas within which outsiders
might be permitted. It was also necessary to withdraw grazing
permits in the area.
The process prescribed for acquiring privately owned
land for Project Y was by condemnation or purchase. Authority for
condemnation of private land was contained in the 2nd War Powers
Act. Under this Act, the government filed a Petition in
Condemnation which resulted in an Order of Possession served by the
court on the land owner, who then had to vacate immediately. To
acquire the land permanently, a Declaration of Taking was filed by the
government and appraisals were made by an appointed commission. If
the appraisal was not approved by both the land owner and the
government, the case was settled in U.S. District Court.
Design & Engineering:
Design and engineering, through March 1944, were
supervised by the Albuquerque Engineer District of the Southwestern
Engineer Division. Then the Manhattan Engineer District (Manhattan
Island, New York City) assumed supervision. Because technical
design depended largely upon the development of research and
experimental processes, actual needs and requirements continually
demanded major or minor alterations. The firm of W. C. Kruger was
selected as architect-engineer for initial design and engineering and
continued its work under Manhattan District supervision.
The Albuquerque District negotiated a contract for
design of the originally authorized buildings and utilities with the
Kruger Company because they maintained a competent architectural and
engineering staff. Further, their office was in Santa Fe, in a
good position to collaborate with the Operating Contractor (University
of California) about special technical issues not ordinarily covered in
standard Army construction.