After years of planning and community outreach, the General Services Administration (GSA) has selected a development team and is mere weeks away from breaking ground at St. Elizabeths. In one of the largest construction contracts given in DC, GSA awarded the $435 million contract to Clark Construction, WDG Architecture and HOK to build the Coast Guard headquarters.
The three won out over a field of competitors including Hensel Phelps Construction with Shalom Baranes Associates, and Turner Construction with SOM. The GSA is using funding from the FY 2009 Appropriations and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act ("Recovery Act") of 2009 to fund the project.
The Coast Guard campus will be the first of 3 phases at the historic hospital. Phase 2 is the center building which will house the Department of Homeland Security Secretary's office as well as other senior administrative staff. Phase 3 will be largely new construction for storage and other similar warehouse facilities. According to Mike McGill, spokesman for the National Capital Region at GSA, groundbreaking and site preparation for the CG facility will begin in September. Actual construction will likely begin in the new year, pending final approval from the National Capital Planning Commission (NCPC). In January 2009 the NCPC approved the final master plan with a few "notes" or contingencies.
First, the GSA has to gain approval to build a west access road connecting Firth Sterling Avenue, SE to the modified Malcom X Ave/SE I-295 interchange through the Shepherd Parkway, which belongs to the National Park Service. The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) determined that the planned access road is the only feasible option, so GSA is working with the National Park Service to minimize negative impacts on Shepherd Highway.
Second, the GSA is working with the D.C. State Historic Preservation Officer (SHPO), the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP), the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the Commission of Fine Arts and other "consulting parties, to determine whether the historic cemetery should fall inside or outside the security perimeter
According to Lisa MacSpadden, Director of Public Affairs at the NCPC, "any development with regards to the Coast Guard facility would be contingent on the items outlined in the commission action" from January 2009. The Coast Guard facility will be erected mostly on the federally-owned West Campus, and partly on the DC-owned East Campus- a compromise resulting from the 1987 land transfer that ceded teh East Campus to the District. At present, the Office of Planning is proceeding independently with their plan for 2 million square feet of private sector, mixed-use development south of the Coast Guard site. St. Elizabeths was the first national mental health care facility in the country.
Images provided courtesy of the National Capital Planning Commission as submitted by GSA for the project’s concept review.