SAGE Building

The Zebra Pulsed Power Lab is housed in the SAGE building, a massive 153,000 square foot, four-story concrete building located 10 miles north of the University campus in Stead, NV.

SAGE is an acronym for Semi-Automatic Ground Environment, and the building is a product of the Cold War period. It is one of 22 identical structures built throughout the United States in the 1950's to serve the strategic air defense of North America in the burgeoning era of nuclear weapons and inter-continental ballistic missiles. Because the SAGE buildings housed the earliest vacuum-tube computers, they have massive air conditioning and ducting systems. Each also has a "war room" where air defense strategies were developed. Parts of the movie "Dr. Strangelove" were filmed in one of them.

The Zebra is a large, two-story device and its installation in the SAGE building required enlarging an entry door and cutting away significant portions of two thick concrete floors to create a high-bay research area. An engineering analysis determined that such major modifications created no structural problems because the SAGE buildings had been designed with thick concrete walls and a superstructure considered sufficient to withstand a nuclear attack!

Today the SAGE building in Stead houses ultra-modern research equipment devoted to large-scale science projects, giving the University of Nevada, Reno a significant advantage among universities in training student-researchers.