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Mr. HANTMAN. As you know, Mr. Chairman, we are asking for funding for some 48 positions in addition to our current staff. This is still by the way would not bring up to the allowable FTE, we would have 60 people short of the FTE, and those positions clearly relate to the fire safety, the life safety, the IRM supports. Also project management is involved with that. We have people that we want to be able to control these projects more effectively than we have been doing.
We have gone through a whole “best practices” program to train all of our project managers and architects and engineers on how to best run a project. So a lot of time has been invested over the last year or so to make sure that the folks know the best way to communicate on a project, the proper way to keep track of budgets and make sure that the projects are managed appropriately as far as schedule and budget is concerned.
The program that you have described, Mr. Chairman, is an ambitious program. We have an aging infrastructure over here as you know. The buildings range up to 200 years of age for parts of the Capitol, 100 years for the Library, and the Russell and the Cannon Buildings are pretty close to that as well. We are constantly reaccessing how we manage this work and how to make it happen.
[The following question from Chairman Taylor and response follows:]
CAPITAL BUDGET Question. Have all the Capitol Budget Projects been completely designed and had formal cost estimates based on the design?
Response. In June of 1999, at the request of the Committee, the AOC instituted the policy to 100% design of all projects prior to requesting construction funds. The AOC has followed this policy except for several critical projects for which the Architect allowed exemptions. Two life safety projects were not designed at the time of their inclusion into the fiscal year 2002 budget request. The projects are “Replace Exit Doors for Emergency Egress, CHOB and LHOB” and “Replace Exit Doors for Emergency Egress, Capitol”. The designs for all three buildings are now complete. The construction estimates for the CHOB and LHOB projects total $1,662,000. The estimate for the Capitol doors based on the completed design is due the second week of July, 2001. The design for the “USCP Chemical & Explosive Storage Facility" project is due from the consultant in July 2001. This project is deemed a high priority by the Capitol Police.
The design for the “Renovation of the Rayburn Cafeteria” project was complete at the time of the 2002 budget submission. However, because of the life safety element related to replacing the exhaust system it was decided to request funds for two separate projects, one related to the replacement of the exhaust system and the other related to the remaining cafeteria renovation work. The development of the total cost estimate was placed on hold. The design and estimates related to the two individual projects was not complete at the time of the submission. Design and related estimates for the projects as well the estimate for the combined project were completed in March 2001.
The design for the coal tunnel related to the “Expansion of the West Refrigeration Plant” which was requested as a budget amendment was not complete at the time of the request. It is currently about 50% complete. However, this work must take place prior to the construction of the Expansion project and is critical to the continued reliability of chilled water for cooling the Capitol complex.
One project that was completely designed and estimated at the time of the budget submission was the “Renovations to Armed Services Rostrum". However, new assignments to the Committee necessitate some new modifications into the design.
Mr. HANTMAN. One of the things that we are reevaluating now, a big part of this budget is the Capitol dome project, and we are taking a look at whether or not the issue of the level of—we need to keep this building in operation while the Capitol Visitor's Center is being built. We need to make sure that the Members have access and visitors have access. That it can work on a day-to-day basis.
So we are taking a look at whether or not we should be coming back to you and saying there are really three options on the Capitol dome. One of the options is to continue asking for the 42.5 million which makes up a good half of the number that you are talking about right now and go ahead with the project. We are ready for that and have construction documents for it. Or should we hold off for a year—as you know we already put this project off for one year because of the emergency supplemental that we got. A lot of the fire safety work that we had to do. We wanted to concentrate on that.
Or—I had a little study done to take a look at what would happen. As you know, if I could backtrack a little bit, when we looked at dome project, we had 7.5 million as an emergency appropriation, and that is because we were finding rust all over the place. We did not know the condition of the dome itself. As a result of that project, we have come back to this committee and we have told other committees as well that there is no fundamental problem with the structure of the dome. They designed that with belts and suspenders and it is not going any place. The basic problem we have is with the skin of the dome. We have condensation, hot weather outside and air conditioning inside. We are going to have condensation. We do have rust. There is lead-based paint.
What would it take for us to be able to take that project out 4 or 5 years, after the Visitor's Center is complete, and perhaps then come in and take a look at the project? This is what we are assessing right now. There are puts and takes and pros and cons on both sides. If we are starting with the Visitor's Center now, it would be nice to have the dome project finished at the same time as the Visitor's Center so that we do not have scaffolding on the dome 4 years after the Visitor's Center project. That is a plus.
But we are taking a look at whether or not we can look at this 1.6 million fix and say that that is what we should be asking you for now rather than 42.5 million. By the end of the week, we expect to come back to you and give you a firm recommendation on that. That is a reassessment of where we are, the accessibility and the workload that we want to get into.
In terms of managing all of this, one of the major concerns that we have had is essentially a pay legislation that we have been proposing. A lot of our senior managers are tied into 1990 legislation that specifies the titles for jobs and the amount of money that we can pay in the agency. That was before the Accountability Act, before the advent of technology to the point that we currently have a situation where we have people at the 15 level earning more than their supervisors. We have been trying to look for a chief financial officer over a year, but because the legislation calls for a budget officer, we have had to advertise as chief financial officer/budget officer. But in reality, we need two people to run not only the accounting group and budget group, but the procurement group and the financial management system as well and make sure they are all
So we have only been able to offer $110,000 at a time when other agencies are offering 125- and 130,000 for the same position. We need to be able to have some pay flexibility to attract the top people, and we are currently pretty much capped out. Maintaining quality workers in the Government is a top priority, and I think the GAO has recognized this. The head of the GẢO has talked about that being a real risk area in government in general. I think we are approaching that point as well.
In terms of managing things we need some flexibility, some ability to hire good people, to retain them, and to have the best management possible.
[The following question from Chairman Taylor and response follows:]
DOME REHABILITATION Question. You are requesting $42.5 million for the Dome Rehabilitation Project. The cost of this project has increased from $3 million to nearly $52 million. Should this project be done concurrently with Capitol Visitor Center project?
Response. There is much maintenance, restoration and repair work to be done to properly fulfill our stewardship responsibilities for our aging buildings and infrastructure. It is important, of course, to prioritize this work to first address the issues that impact safety, security and the fundamental day-to-day needs of Congress and those who work on or visit Capitol Hill. Given the imperative of operational needs, and availability of both financial and human resources, it is necessary to constantly reevaluate those priorities.
With this perspective I initiated a study, which was completed in March of this year, on the implications of postponing the second phase of the Capitol Dome restoration project. The first phase investigations had concluded that the cast iron support structure was well designed and in good condition. The main issues needing to be addressed related to the need for repair and maintenance of the cast iron "skin" or shell of the Dome and its related railings etc. The study concluded that approximately $1.6 million should be invested in the Dome to permit us, with proper inspections each year, to postpone the Capitol Dome Phase II project for a number of years, if this were deemed necessary. If funded, this work could be expedited and completed by the summer of 2002.
Based upon this study and the need to maintain all functions in the Capitol with a minimum of disruption during the construction of the Capitol Visitor Center and other safety related projects, I have determined that it would be prudent to postpone the full Dome restoration project until a later time.
It is therefore requested that $1.6 million for interim Dome work be considered in place of the full restoration request of $42.5 million. It should of course be noted that the full restoration cost will escalate over the time period of the delay .
The scope of work recommended for this interim period is listed below. This scope represents the work that can be done now without proceeding with a scope of work that approaches the full level of the complete project (The full report is available for review as needed).
(1) Paint the exterior of the Dome over the present lead-based alkyd system to rejuvenate its appearance, and cover butt joints and corroded areas. It has been 13 years since the most recent painting of the Dome when the proper cycle should by 4-6 years.
(2) Paint the interior of the Skirt cast iron members to cover base iron and protect it from further corrosion. The paint on the iron surfaces at the Skirt is severely deteriorated and needs to be re-coated to protect the iron.
(3) Reseal the joints, cracks and defect areas to prevent moisture infiltration and corrosion at exposed edges. Many of these defect areas have been sealed over with temporary repairs. (Inspect this work semi-annually and correct deficiencies found until the implementation of Phase II.)
(4) Finish paint all surfaces in the Interstitial Space that was primed and intermediate coated in Phase I. This includes cast iron, wrought iron hangers, steel, sheet metal walls at Second Visitors Gallery, the tin canopy, Lantern Level transite walls, wood railings, wood window sash, and stairs. Bare iron at defect locations will require extra surface preparation to remove rust, a full 3 coats of paint, and re-labeling of defects. The finish coat must be added to prevent UV degradation of the
(5) Seal ledges and joints in the Interstitial Space and Skirt. Delay of the installation of a mechanical ventilation system in the Interstitial Space means continued condensation, which attacks these ledges and joints. The sealant will prevent moisture collection in these areas.
(6) Remove any loose chipped paint along the tour route, including chipped plaster in the Bulfinch Stair and paint chips and dust from the following surfaces: the Rotunda stone wall from the Bulfinch stair to the Grand Stair and from the Grand Stair to Roof A, cast iron along the Grand Stair and in the First Visitors Gallery to the Interstitial Space. This is needed to reduce the health risk to those frequenting the space.
(7) Repair all defects in secondary members, including: Two locations at "Y" bracket broken tab, One broken tab connector at a secondary rib, One cracked tab at the base of the Cupola. These are all locations where tension forces acting on the cast iron have caused cracks. The load mechanics that caused the failure are still present and although they are not of immediate concern it is not recommended that they remain for five years un-repaired. For example the tab at the base of the Cupola is cracked three quarters of its length and is still in tension from exterior plate dead load and wind forces.
(8) Seal all open joints below the Boiler Plate Level and initiate a semi-annual inspection of all plate joints and gutter patches to ensure the watertight integrity of the exterior shell for the duration of the postponement.
(9) Replace temporary wood walkway at Tholos balcony. This wood structure like any home deck is subject to deterioration due to moisture and UV exposure. For safety precautions it should be replace.
Mr. TAYLOR. Before I bring the gavel down, Ms. Kaptur?
Ms. KAPTUR. Mr. Chairman, I just wanted to know, is this the most visited site in Washington or is it the National Space Museum? How do our visitor numbers compare with others?
Mr. HANTMAN. I don't know. We could find that out. I think the Space Museum probably has more visitors.
[Subsequent to the hearing, the Architect of the Capitol provided
In response to the Honorable Marcy Kaptur's request for information regarding visitation at other well-known Washington D.C. landmarks, including specifically the Smithsonian's Air and Space Museum, the Architect of the Capitol is pleased to supply the following information. Please note all figures are for calendar or fiscal year 2000, depending upon the way the organizations managing the sites kecp statistics.
Please note that the visitation numbers for the U.S. Capitol are below visitation for major muscums, but arc in the same ballpark as for major memorials on the National Mall. Visitor and educational services at the U.S. Capitol are quite rudimentary compared to what is offered at the Smithsonian's museums, but services compare, in some cases favorably, with the National Mail memorials. However, of the sites for which we provide visitation figures below, only the V.S. Capitol has purposes that come before and beyond providing the public with an educational or commemorative visitation experience. The U.S. Capitol would still have to exist as the scat of the L'.S. Congress if ii had no public visitation; for the other locations cited here visitation and/or public education are primary purposes.
Visitation to the U.S. Capitol is growing, and in order w provide basic comforts, let alone a good quality educational experience, a visitor center is a necessity. The visitor center designed for the last Plaza of the U.S. Capitol also