District of Columbia:

Status of Construction of the Convention Center

GAO-02-1069R: Published: Sep 24, 2002. Publicly Released: Sep 24, 2002.

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A new convention center is being constructed in accordance with the Washington Convention Center Authority Act of 1994, which authorizes the Washington Convention Center Authority (WCCA) to construct, maintain, and operate a new convention center while continuing to maintain and operate the existing convention center. GAO reviewed (1) issues related to the Revised Guaranteed Maximum Price agreement (RGMP) set in January 2002; (2) the status of construction and significant construction issues that could delay completion of the project; (3) whether the January 2002 estimated total project cost of $799.5 million has changed, and if so, the causes and nature of the changes; and (4) whether WCCA's funding appears to be sufficient to cover the current estimated total project cost. GAO found that on January 31, 2002, the RGMP was set by the construction manager and WCCA at $590.7 million. As of June 30, 2002, the RGMP has increased by $7 million to $597.7 million. The project construction schedule established by the RGMP includes deadlines for (1) substantial completion of convention-ready areas by March 31, 2002; (2) substantial completion of all remaining areas by June 30, 2003; and (3) final completion by October 1, 2003. As of July 2002, the convention center construction activities were 80 percent complete. Although WCCA is behind schedule and has identified several significant construction issues, it is working to address these issues. A critical milestone that must be achieved for WCCA to maintain the construction schedule is completing the facility's exterior shell, which is anticipated to occur in December 2002. According to WCCA, the total estimated project cost remained at $799.5 million as of June 2002. However, WCCA has identified several factors that will increase the project cost. The estimated project funding available as of June 30, 2002, was $822.5 million, which is $6.8 million more than the $815.7 million projected as available during June 2002. WCCA officials said that they believe the available funding will be sufficient to cover the total estimated project costs.

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