Kennedy Center: More Information on Project Status and Budgets Needed to Understand the Impact of Future Funding Decisions

GAO-04-933 Published: Sep 15, 2004. Publicly Released: Sep 20, 2004.
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Since fiscal year 1995, the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts (Center) has been responsible and received federal funding for implementing capital improvement projects and operations and maintenance activities. The Kennedy Center's Comprehensive Building Plan identifies capital projects needed to renovate the Center and bring it into compliance with current life safety and accessibility codes. The Kennedy Center currently is planning to construct, with private funds, two new buildings to open in 2013 on a new plaza to be built adjacent to the existing facility. The Kennedy Center expects federal funding to operate and maintain these buildings. GAO was asked to examine (1) how much the Center has received in federal appropriations for capital projects, (2) the status of the Comprehensive Building Plan and updates, and (3) the potential impact of the Center's plaza project on the need for future operations and maintenance funding.

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Recommendations for Executive Action

Agency Affected Recommendation Status
John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts To help congressional decision makers oversee the capital projects at the Kennedy Center and make funding decisions, the President of the Kennedy Center, in conjunction with the Chairman of the Board of Trustees, should annually update the comprehensive building plan, as required, and include (1) the prioritization of projects, (2) project status, and (3) updated budget information for planned and ongoing projects.
Closed – Implemented
In November 2004, the Kennedy Center issued an updated Comprehensive Building Plan. The updated plan is responsive to these areas of GAO's recommendation. The plan includes a list of projects completed since the 2002 CBP and their completion dates. The plan also contains descriptions of the current projects and indicates how the project relates to the project identified in the 2002 plan. This provides Congressional decisionmakers with information on the status and scope of projects that have been previously identified. A section of the updated plan also notes major changes to projects previously identified in the 2002 CBP. This provides information on projects that had been previously identified, but have changed substantially in scope or timing and additional projects that have been identified as necessary. The updated plan also includes a year-by-year project-specific budget accounting for all planned projects. This will help decisionmakers understand the timing and cost of projects and hold the Kennedy Center accountable for the timing and cost of specific projects.

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