Environmental Protection Agency:

Plans in Limbo for Consolidated Headquarters Space

GGD-93-84: Published: Apr 19, 1993. Publicly Released: Jun 15, 1993.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) and the General Services Administration's (GSA) efforts to improve working conditions at EPA headquarters and obtain suitable consolidated headquarters space for EPA.

GAO found that: (1) workspace at the Waterside Mall complex became overcrowded as EPA staffing increased, and complaints about working conditions increased when EPA began facility renovations; (2) EPA undertook extensive cleanup operations, made ventilation system improvements, and installed new carpeting at the complex to remedy air quality and overcrowded conditions; (3) EPA moved some employees to alternative workspace because of health problems, which increased EPA operating expenses; (4) EPA spent $807,200 operating six shuttle buses to transport EPA employees to multiple work locations and estimated that the lost work time cost it $4.9 million per year; (5) the Office of Management and Budget proposed that EPA locate its new headquarters in the Federal Triangle Building (FTB), but the House Public Buildings and Grounds Subcommittee opposed EPA occupancy of FTB because it would change its character from an international cultural and trade center to an ordinary government office building; (6) GSA proposed that EPA and the Department of Transportation (DOT) split occupancy of FTB; and (7) if the DOT/EPA housing plan is implemented, EPA will need 800,000 square feet of additional space.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: GSA has decided to locate EPA in three buildings in the Federal Triangle area--the Ariel Rios Building, the Federal Triangle Building, and the ICC Commerce Building, by the fall of 1996.

    Recommendation: The Acting Administrator of General Services should give prompt attention to reaching an agreement acceptable to the new administration and the House and Senate public works committees on an approved housing plan for FTB, since the outcome of that decision will affect EPA and several other agencies' space planning. Depending on the decisions reached concerning FTB, GSA needs to submit a building proposal for congressional approval that will settle the EPA future housing situation and provide adequate funding to fulfill its needs.

    Agency Affected: General Services Administration

 

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