National Park Service:

Cost Estimates for Two Proposed Park Facilities in Texas

RCED-91-218BR: Published: Sep 3, 1991. Publicly Released: Oct 3, 1991.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO analyzed the cost estimates for the proposed: (1) visitor center at San Antonio Missions National Historical Park; and (2) headquarters/visitor center and a separate maintenance facility at Big Thicket National Preserve.

GAO found that: (1) the National Park Service's (NPS) initial cost estimate for the San Antonio Missions visitor center was $8.63 million, and approximately $200,000 had been appropriated for planning and design work; (2) the initial NPS cost estimate for the Big Thicket facilities was $8.41 million, and approximately $564,000 had been appropriated for planning and about $3.1 million had been appropriated for the maintenance facility; (3) NPS estimated that such additional site work as landscaping and construction of walks and parking areas for the San Antonio Missions visitor center would cost $806,000; (4) 69 percent of the square footage in the San Antonio Missions visitor center will be visitor accommodation and interpretive space and the remaining 31 percent will be administrative space; (5) design and construction of the facilities at Big Thicket will be done in two phases, with phase I consisting of the maintenance facility and phase II consisting of the headquarters and visitor center; (6) 68 percent of the Big Thicket facility will be used for NPS staff and the remaining 32 percent will be for visitors; (7) NPS estimated that the maintenance facility would cost about $1.38 million and the headquarters/visitor center would cost about $2.27 million; and (8) a 31-percent allocation for project supervision and potential construction contingencies and cost overruns added $1.78 million to the total Big Thicket project cost and added $1.74 million to the San Antonio Missions project cost.

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