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and vote. Mr. Moran do you have any comments?
Mr. MORAN. No, that is fine. I am happy to go right into questions. Thank you.
Mr. TAYLOR. Good. We will go first to the Visitor's Center, because that has already been discussed with others here today.
The committee understands that you recently asked the companies of Gilbane & Hanscomb to provide independent estimates of the costs of the Visitor's Center based upon 50 percent construction drawings. What are the estimates and do their estimates exceed the original estimate of $265 million for the Center? Are there specific items that are causing the estimated cost of the Center to increase?
Mr. HANTMAN. Mr. Chairman, this is part of our philosophy of doing a belt-and-suspenders approach to this project. We want to make sure that we are in good shape and do not rely on one estimate. We took an independent estimate in addition to the Gilbane estimate, and what we are doing is reconciling the differences between those two estimates.
Some things have been included on one side that were not included on the other. Some things should not have been included at all in the scope of work, and we are currently reconciling both of those estimates and numbers. As the reconciliation goes forward, it is showing us that we are basically within the $265 million budget.
We are quite satisfied—we are very confident that these numbers are going to be worked out to be 265 and we will get the systems and the base building pretty much where we want it to be.
Mr. TAYLOR. We will have some more questions on that in a minute, but I will move on to the page dorm because I want to get to several things before we have to go vote.
How is the page dorm construction progressing?
Mr. TURNBULL. It is coming along very well. We are 85 percent complete right now. We had one issue with the District of Columbia, with the water pipes that have broken in the streets, which not only concerned us, but the neighborhood in general. We contacted WASA and we were able to expedite them coming out.
We were concerned that the lack of water was a major issue for us. We solved that. That is under way and we see no additional problems keeping us from having the pages' dorm ready for occupancy.
O'NEILL BUILDING Mr. TAYLOR. What are we going to do with the O'Neill Building? Do you have any thoughts about that?
Mr. HANTMAN. The O'Neill Building was basically designed as a hotel, as you know. The loading is low, 40 pounds per square foot. The floor plate is not appropriate for many of the uses of the Congress. Our sense is, once the building is vacated, we are getting estimates right now to do a study for demolition. Once we get that
coming back to this committee to ask for funds to demolish the building.
Mr. TAYLOR. On the renovation of the Cannon garage, that was in the Emergency Supplemental Appropriation Act of 2000. What is the status of the project? Do you anticipate meeting the January 2002 completion date?
Mr. TURNBULL. Yes, we do. That piece of the parking is closing of the garage itself. The actual project takes about a year. The actual part, the impacts to the garage would be from July to January 2nd; and at this point in time, they are mobilizing and getting on the site to complete the project. We anticipate no problems.
Mr. TAYLOR. We are anticipating a penalty if it is not followed through, somewhat like the ones we did with contractors. I know that there are things that come in and interfere; but on these three questions you all are very confident that all these things are going to happen and you feel sure about it?
Mr. TURNBULL. Yes, sir.
Mr. TAYLOR. All right. You have asked for funding of $3.4 million for 48 unfunded positions.
I understand that your agency lapsed $8 million in fiscal year 2000. How much do you expect to lapse this fiscal year? Are you having a difficult time recruiting and retaining adequate staff?
Mr. HANTMAN. Mr. Chairman, we do not expect to lapse this year at all. We got back on track in March of this year.
We had some difficulties in hiring people early on. We have hired, to date, 188 people in the agency, and part of the good news of that hiring and filling of jobs is that some 75 of those positions are internal. We have the idea of morale and having people have career paths and moving up in the organization is a very positive one. But because some of those jobs were not brought on at the beginning of the year—as you know, we had a continuing resolution as well and some of those jobs, 75 jobs, need to be back-filled themselves.
Some of those dollars will not be spent on personnel issues. In fact, one of the things that we are planning to do, that I have just signed, Mr. Chairman, to come to you on, is a reprogramming of some of those dollars to do one of the emergency projects that I think we can do. And one of those emergency programs would be the revolving door replacement in the Longworth. That is a $950,000 request for reprogramming that will be coming here so that we can effectively use those dollars.
Mr. TAYLOR. I think we only have one vote. We will recess, go vote and come back.
VISITOR CENTER COST ESTIMATES
I would like to go back to the Visitor's Center and the cost estimates. What were the estimates or what are the estimates that you put together?
Mr. HANTMAN. There was about a $20 million spread, as I recall, between the estimates, one of them in the range of $260 million and change and another was probably 280 and something. Part of the issues that we are going through—I'm sorry, I have been corrected, 282 and 300.
So the scope is being checked into, what in fact was the scope and whether the systems that were being estimated in fact are the systems that we want.
As part of the reanalysis of this, the reengineering of it, we are looking at the mechanical systems, and what was in the spec of the mechanical system was a system that was difficult to maintain and very expensive. Our people are getting in and saying we want this mechanical system that is less expensive but easier to maintain. It is that type of analysis that is going back and forth to bring the reconciliation of these two estimates back into one. And our best estimation is that reconciliation is not complete, but the numbers are between 260 and 265.
Mr. TAYLOR. How do you get there from $282 and $300? I had been in building years and years ago and did not even know what I was doing, and I never could bring it down to $260. I am still thinking if you had an estimate of $282 and $300, and you make some quality decisions, you can impact the price but you cannot impact it that much, unless you were using gold doors in the beginning.
Mr. HANTMAN. There is a certain amount of reengineering that is done. Let me introduce Peter May, who is very involved in that process, and maybe you could talk, Peter, about the issues that caused the gap between the two estimates.
Mr. MAY. The first estimates for the project at 50 percent were ranges 280 to 300 million. What we did first was make sure that what was in those estimates was actually in the project. At 50 percent documents, there is not a full picture of exactly what is in the project and some of that is left to the estimators to fill in the picture. That is why we wound up with the 280 to 300.
The first thing we did was go back and make sure that what they were estimating really was in the project, and in doing that, the estimates are now ranging from 260 to 282 million, I believe. And even within that 282 million, there is still further reconciliation between the two estimates that have to be done and a number of items such as the ones that Mr. Hantman cited, where we have differences between one system and another which provide the same level of service, we simply have to make sure that we are choosing the one that is more affordable. And we should be able to-we have already identified about $20 million within that 280 figure to be able to bring it down to 260.
Mr. TAYLOR. We want to choose the one that is more affordable, but it has to be of a standard and quality or like quality. Otherwise you are just pushing the cost into early maintenance.
Mr. MAY. That is true.
Mr. TAYLOR. And you do not want to do that. The reason we are
at stake. And like I say, I was very much in favor of this when it was $100 million. And we wondered how we were going to spend that much. And now it is $265, $282, $300. I am in favor of having a Visitor's Center because of the positives it could bring to the public and the Capitol, but not at any cost. And I don't think we want to start out with something along the lines of a Visitor's Center and wind up something like the Chancellory in Berlin.
(Questions from Chairman Taylor and responses follow:)
Question. There is no money in this budget for the Visitor Center. What has been accomplished since last year? What is the current status of the design work? Is the design work complete? Where are you with the construction document phase? Explain the current concept for the members of the committee. Have any significant changes occurred since last year? For the record, lay out the chronology of events since the last hearing and the latest cost estimates, construction schedule, and the conceptual layouts of the Visitor Center. Are there additional projects that are being considered in connection with the Visitor's Center that were not included in the original $265 million estimate? If so, what are they, and do you know what they will cost?
Response. Since last year, the AOC Design Team has accomplished a great deal:
The Final Design for the Capitol Visitor Center (CVC) was presented to the Capitol Preservation Commission (CPC) in September 2000. It was unanimously approved on October 17, 2000.
The AOC Design Team completed the Design Development Phase in December 2000.
The Gilbane Building Company was awarded a contract for Construction Management of the project. They have been working closely with the AOC since January 2001, providing critical information to the Design Team in areas such constructibility, logistics, and cost.
The AOC hired Joseph Sacco as CVC Project Manager and Martha Sewell as the Exhibit Project Director.
The development of the CVC exhibit has accelerated with the formation of the Content Development Team consisting of the House and Senate Historians, the Senate Curator, the AOC Curator and Historian, and representatives of the Library of Congress and National Archives.
Exhibit Designer Ralph Appelbaum met with numerous Members of the CPC to solicit their views on the content of the CVC exhibit.
A Exhibit Design Concept presentation was made to the staff of the CPDC on June 25, 2001.
The AOC completed most of the geo-technical studies (soil borings) on the East Plaza and the North Drive. This work is necessary to complete structural design of the CVC and the service tunnel.
Drawings and specifications for “tree preservation” work were completed in June, 2001 and the AOC is currently in the process of procuring a contractor to do the work.
The AOC has worked closely with the Capitol Police and the Capitol Guide Service to design a temporary visitor screening facility and logistical plan for handling visitor access to the Capitol during CVC construction. These plans received a favorable review from the Capitol Police Board and are currently undergoing further development and review by the appropriate authorities.
The AOC project team has met with representatives of the Union Station Redevelopment Corporation, the Downtown Business Improvement District (DBID), the National Park Service, the Washington Metropolitan Transit Authority (WMATA), and the District Government. The purpose of these eetings has been to coordinate with on-going, city-wide efforts to address such issues as tour bus management and an effort to start a downtown circulator bus to serve the Mall, the downtown business district, and Capitol Hill.
The AOC Design Team is currently in the Construction Document Phase and 50% complete documents were submitted to the AOC for review at the end of April 2001. Due to the complexities of the design, particularly in the interface with the Capitol Building, a 75% Submission has been added to the schedule for AOC review. The 75% Submission is due in the beginning of August 2001, with 100% Documents due in mid-November. In addition, the utility Pre-Construction Package has been exthat will be necessary before general construction begins. Final drawings for the Pre-Construction package are due in July 2001, with utility relocation work anticipated to begin in the late Fall of this year upon approval of the Capitol Preservation Commission for these expenditures. General construction is slated to begin in late Spring 2002.
The current concept for the Capitol Visitor Center calls for a three-story underground structure to be built below the East Plaza. The design of the CVC has been conceived as an extension of the Capitol, an extension that will enhance the experience of the millions of annual Capitol visitors, providing them with greater comfort and accessibility, as well as new educational opportunities that currently do not exist. In addition to food service facilities, restrooms and gift shops, the ČVC will provide approximately 20,000 square feet of museum quality exhibition space and two 250-seat orientation theaters that will be designed to inform visitors about the Capitol and provide resources on the workings and history of Congress and the legislative process. The project also includes a new monumental stair and elevators inside the East Front Extension which will significantly improve accessibility for visitors to the Crypt, Rotunda, and Gallery Levels of the Capitol. In addition, the project includes a 450-seat Congressional Auditorium, constituent assembly rooms, an underground service tunnel and loading dock, and approximately 85,000 square feet of unfinished shell space on each of the House and Senate sides for future fit out and use by Congress. The total square footage for the entire project is approximately 580,000 square feet. The total project budget is $265 million.
Although there have been no major changes to the design since it was approved by the Capitol Preservation Commission in October 2000, there has been a significant improvement due to the elimination of air intake structures that were planned for the East grounds of the Capitol. These structures were to be located just north and south of the existing Olmsted fountains and would supply fresh air to the CVC. It was determined that the planned modifications to the East Front could be altered to accommodate air shafts that would draw air from the roof of the Capitol building. This change dramatically improved the safety of the building's air supply by moving the intake out of the reach of unscreened individuals and low-to-the ground pollution sources, such as cars and trucks. Like the new East Front elevators that will connect to all three floors of the CVC, the airshafts will extend down below the foundations of the East Front Extension and will connect with the lowest (service) level of the CVC where they will supply the mechanical equipment that will serve the CVC. The elimination of the air intake structures has the additional benefit of preserving the unobstructed views of the Capitol across the grassy areas of the East Grounds commonly referred to as the Olmsted "eggs."
Since the hearing last year, the AOC Design Team has completed the Design Development Phase of the project and has received unanimous approval from the Capitol Preservation Commission of the Final Design. The AOC Design Team is currently a little more than 50% complete on the Construction Document Phase, having completed the 50% complete document submission at the end of April 2001.
The cost estimate produced at the end of the Design Development Phase was within 2 percent of the $265 million project budget, which by standard construction industry practice is “on budget” for that stage of the process. Two separate estimates one by the Design Team the other by the Construction Manager—were produced earlier this month based on the 50% complete construction documents. The AOC is working with the Design Team and the Construction Manager to reconcile these estimates to ensure a true "apples to apples” comparison and to arrive at the most accurate numbers possible. The approximate range of total project cost based on the latest drafts of these estimates is from $260 to $280 million. It is expected that these estimates will be further reduced during the reconciliation process as the scope of the project is further refined. In addition, approximately $20 million in potential cost savings that can be achieved without sacrifice in quality of efficiency have already been identified in the higher of the two estimates. The AOC remains confident that the CVC project can be built with the original $265 million budget.
The original construction schedule for the CVC project called for a two pre-construction activities (tree preservation and limited utility relocations) begin in the late Fall of this year, with general construction commencing in January 2002 and running until 2005. That schedule anticipated that the general contractor would take the first six months of 2002 to mobilize and to relocate all of the other utilities that will be impacted by construction.
Based on the constructability advice from Gilbane, the AOC's Construction Manager, the strategy has been modified to separate all utility relocation work out of the general contract and into a pre-construction package or packages. This strategy helps limit risk to the AOC—unforseen conditions would impact only the smaller