WASHINGTON, D.C. – July 28, 2015 – (RealEstateRama) — The office of Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) said today that the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee’s markup last Thursday of a resolution authorizing $18 million for design costs for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) headquarters consolidation project at St. Elizabeths is another important indication of the intention of Congress to complete the DHS headquarters consolidation. Through this funding, Norton said, Congress acknowledges the new Enhanced Master plan that reduces costs by more than $800 million, increases the number of employees now able to be housed at St. Elizabeths from 14,000 to 17,000 and accelerates full consolidation by five years. The increase in employees at reduced cost implements the new utilization rate of 150 square feet per person for affected agencies, far lower than the previously planned 220 square feet per person before the reduction now in effect for all federal agencies.
“This authorization had the unanimous bipartisan support of the Committee, showing that these efficiencies have achieved congressional understanding that the best way forward is to quickly consolidate additional agencies at St. Elizabeths and save taxpayers from needless, costly leased space,” said Norton. “This authorization, which facilitates full consolidation, should put to rest doubts about the completion of the consolidation on the West Campus of St. Elizabeths.”
The U.S. General Services Administration resolution does not require House floor approval and Norton is working now on committee approval in the Senate where she does not anticipate difficulty.
The Senate fiscal year 2016 Homeland Security Appropriations bill included $212 million for consolidation of the DHS headquarters at St. Elizabeths. In May, the National Park Service transferred eight acres located in Shepherd Parkway to make infrastructure improvements at St. Elizabeths after Norton requested that the transfer be expedited. Construction is already underway for the Center Building, which will house the DHS Secretary and up to 900 of his staff. Norton got $144 million included in the fiscal year 2015 omnibus appropriations bill for DHS Consolidation at St. Elizabeths and for GSA to make infrastructure improvements there. In addition, a new access road to support federal employee traffic into St. Elizabeths will be completed by May 2017.