GSA: Data Shows Why Fully Funding St. Elizabeths Enhanced Plan in FY16 is the Right Decision
Key Lawmakers Express Support for Critical National Security Investment
WASHINGTON -- Today, the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) released data showing why fully funding the St. Elizabeths Enhanced Plan in FY16 is the right decision. Using GSA’s Total Workplace strategies, the Enhanced Plan cuts construction costs by $800 million and saves taxpayers an estimated $1.2 billion over 30 years when compared to the best alternative commercial lease option. The plan also increases the number of personnel housed by 3,000 and dramatically reduces DHS’s real estate footprint. If federal funding is on schedule, the Enhanced Plan will lead to St. Elizabeths consolidation in 2021, five years sooner than the previous plan.
From GSA Administrator Denise Turner Roth:
"The Enhanced Plan takes a smart investment in underutilized federal space and makes it even better. Incorporating the latest space planning and technology solutions, GSA and DHS will be able to cut costs, reduce square footage, and deliver this project faster -- saving taxpayers $1.2 billion over 30 years. In keeping with the Obama Administration's reduce the footprint policy, the consolidation will allow us to cut the federal footprint by 1.8 million square feet and completely reverse DHS's leased-to-owned ratio. The DHS headquarters consolidation is more than halfway complete, and fully funding the Enhanced Plan in FY16 would get us closer to the finish line."
From U.S. Senator Tom Carper (D-Del.), Ranking Member of the U.S. Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee:
“Consolidating the Department of Homeland Security at St. Elizabeths gets at the heart of our two main goals on the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee: to protect our nation’s security and ensure everything we do in government is done in a fiscally responsible way. It is simply unacceptable for the agency responsible for securing our nation from terrorist attacks and responding to disasters to be scattered across dozens of leased locations in and around Washington, DC. Consolidation at St. Elizabeths will help the Department better carry out its critical mission and improve employee morale. If fully funded,¿ the project will also save taxpayers $1.2 billion over the next 30 years, primarily by reducing the number of expensive commercial leases currently used by the Department. The facts show that St. Elizabeths should remain a top priority for Congress and the Administration. I urge my colleagues in Congress to ensure there is adequate and consistent funding for the construction of St. Elizabeths to keep costs down and the project on track for future years¿.”
From U.S. Senator Tom Udall (D-N.M.), member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Appropriations:
"Construction on the DHS headquarters has been hobbled year after year because of dysfunction in Congress. It's time for Congress to provide DHS and GSA with consistent direction and oversight that will enable a commonsense plan to move forward, get the project back on track and bring down the cost. Further delays and inconsistent funding hurt the taxpayers by raising costs over the long run. That's particularly true for this project but also for many others across the country, including much needed infrastructure in New Mexico."
From U.S. Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-District of Columbia):
“The cost savings to the government in taking DHS agencies out of high-cost lease space has already been unprecedented.The new St. Elizabeths Enhanced Plan’s reduction of the footprint per employee makes the DHS consolidation the largest federal construction savings at one time in our history. The Enhanced Plan also enables us to go back to the Coast Guard headquarters, the first building constructed, to add approximately 1,400 employees in keeping with the reduced employee footprint goals, which were developed only after the Coast Guard headquarters was built at St. Elizabeths. Congress generally has a tough time finding funds to pay for what it wants to do. In this case, Congress has the opportunity to save DHS $1.2 billion. That is an offer nobody can refuse.”
Currently, DHS Headquarters offices are spread among more than 50 locations in the Washington, DC area -- fragmentation that makes it harder for the agency to achieve its mission. The Enhanced Plan will consolidate these offices to as few as six locations.
Early in the process of drafting the Enhanced Plan, GSA determined that the use of flexible workplace strategies and revised space standards across the campus would improve space utilization, reduce overall construction and allow additional DHS components to be housed on the St. Elizabeths West Campus. These improvements allow for the full consolidation of the Offices of the Secretary, Deputy Secretary, and other Headquarters and Component offices. The U.S. Coast Guard has already relocated to St. Elizabeths. In short, the Enhanced Plan will deliver a more consolidated St. Elizabeths faster and at a lower cost -- 80 percent of which will be in federally-owned space.
GSA will file the Enhanced Plan as an amendment to the St. Elizabeths consolidation masterplan. The amendment must be approved by the National Capital Planning Commission.