National Science Foundation:

Planned Relocation to Arlington

GGD-92-143BR: Published: Sep 17, 1992. Publicly Released: Sep 21, 1992.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the proposed relocation of the National Science Foundation (NSF) headquarters from the District of Columbia to Arlington, Virginia, focusing on whether the: (1) proposed location would make it difficult for NSF to fulfill its role in the development and implementation of national science policy; and (2) General Services Administration (GSA) properly followed procedures in selecting the Arlington site.

GAO found that: (1) over 20 years, the proposed site will cost the government about $81 million less than leasing comparable space in the District; (2) the proposed site will also improve current employee working conditions; (3) GSA estimates that it could lose about $15 million in rental costs, construction costs, and loans if NSF does not move to the proposed site; (4) the NSF governing board expressed concerns that the relocation would significantly diminish the NSF role in the science and technology process, since NSF would no longer be located near the universities and government agencies with which it interacts and some NSF staff will be inconvenienced in local travel; (5) although NSF did not concur with the GSA relocation decision, GSA properly handled NSF objections to the move; (6) the White House and the Office of Management and Budget reviewed NSF objections and concurred with the GSA decision; and (7) GSA properly followed procedures in selecting the Arlington site, and the evaluation panel developed appropriate factors to consider, assigned reasonable weights to those criteria, and scored offers appropriately.

Matter for Congressional Consideration

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: In January 1993, NSF agreed to move to Arlington at the urging of the Bush and Clinton Administrations.

    Matter: Congress should appropriate the funds necessary in fiscal year 1993 for NSF to proceed with its planned relocation to Arlington.


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