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Looking back at the American Recovery & Reinvestment Act

February 24, 2016

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), passed in 2009, provided $787 billion in economic stimulus funding. The General Services Administration (GSA) received $5.5 billion of ARRA funds to convert federal buildings to high-performance green buildings and to build new energy-efficient federal offices, courthouses and land ports of entry. Over $591 million was spent in the Pacific Rim Region. Seven years later, we take a closer look at five of the projects that brought stimulus funds to California, Arizona and Hawaii.

Mariposa Land Port of Entry
Nogales, AZ Mariposa Land Port of Entry

As one of GSA’s largest Recovery Act projects, expansion and modernization of the Mariposa Land Port of Entry in Nogales, AZ. has enabled the U.S. Customs and Border Protection to more effectively perform their mission by improving efficiency, security and safety for officers and the traveling public. The project also had a direct and significant impact on the local economy and job creation in the area.

The project consisted of the demolition and new construction of all facilities within the land port of entry. This included primary and secondary inspection areas for both commercial and non-commercial vehicles, a new administration building, a pedestrian processing facility, a new canine kennel, and other support structures. Approximately 13 acres adjacent to the port were acquired to accommodate the expansion.

The new port of entry was certified LEED® Gold through a combination of a solar domestic hot water system, advanced lighting, rainwater harvesting and building automation systems.

Federal Building, 50 United Nations Plaza
San Francisco, CA50 United Nations Plaza at dusk

The 50 United Nations Plaza Federal Building, built in 1933, is a six story steel frame and masonry Beaux-Arts Neo-Classical style building located in the heart of San Francisco. With ARRA funding, it underwent a full modernization and renovation, including a seismic upgrade, installation of more efficient building systems, the creation of a roof garden, and a reimagining of the interior spaces that resulted in a more modern and efficient workplace. The building was recently designated LEED Platinum by the U.S. Green Buildings Council as a result of this project and has helped revitalize the San Francisco Civic Center neighborhood.

John M. Roll U.S. Courthouse
Yuma, AZ

Yuma CourthouseCompleted in 2014, the John M. Roll U.S. Courthouse in Yuma, AZ reinterprets and updates the classical American courthouse while adapting to the Southern Arizona climate utilizing 21st century durable materials and technologies.

The complex houses two Magistrate Courtrooms, Judges’ Chambers, Jury Facilities, Probation and Pretrial Services, District and Bankruptcy Court Services, and U.S. Marshals Service program. The site’s prominent location near Yuma’s Main Street motivated the designers to incorporate an important outdoor civic space within the building’s design. A “front porch” for the public was created using an expansive photovoltaic canopy. The canopy (together with solar thermal collectors) provides for over 20 percent of the building’s energy load and also provides a shaded gathering place for employees, visitors and the greater community. The east and west faces of the building, with deeply recessed windows, are shaded by a “living wall” – a weathered steel trellis and frame structure supporting vines that soften the harsh sun and provide controlled sunlight to the perimeter spaces inside.

Prince Jonah Kuhio Kalanianaole Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse
Honolulu, HI PJKK at night

The Prince Jonah Kuhio Kalanianaole Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse in Honolulu, HI underwent a redesign of the 32-year-old federal campus, and a full renovation and construction of the courthouse portion of the facility. GSA completed a comprehensive replacement of the core mechanical, electrical, fire-safety, and plumbing infrastructure, in order to reduce energy consumption by 30 percent. Repairs, alterations, and improvements to access areas of the building and various other changes made the complex more efficient and functional. This Recovery Act project led to employment for many people who had struggled to find work during the economic downturn.

U.S. Courthouse
Bakersfield, CA Bakersfield U.S. Courthouse

The new Recovery Act-funded U.S. courthouse in Bakersfield, CA, adjacent to the Bakersfield Central Park, was designed by award-winning architect Steve McConnell to capitalize on its location. Large windows offer those inside the lobby sweeping views of the park and water landscape along the western side of the building. The building uses energy at maximum efficiency and is the first in the country to use “chilled beam” technology to cool the building. The building, completed in 2012, houses the U.S. Magistrate Court, U.S. Marshals Service, and U.S. Probation and Pretrial Services.

Last Reviewed: 2017-08-13