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Feds struggle with what to do with costly old, historic buildings
Likewise, the National Parks Service reported that less than 60 percent of its buildings are in good condition, most requiring extensive maintenance.
But there have been success stories too. The GSA refurbished 500 historic wooden windows in the Milwaukee Federal Building and Courthouse, built in 1899, but was able to install modern insulated glass. Likewise, at the Interior Department headquarters in Washington, D.C., the GSA installed an emergency-exit staircase in a “not historically significant” part of the building while preserving the structure’s historic corridors.
“While many federal buildings are historic because of the passage of time and a corresponding recognition of their historical or architectural significance locally or regionally, a smaller subset are treasured assets considered significant to the nation’s history,” the GAO said.
There’s been some discrepency on what government records show as historic. Take the West Wing of the White House. Designated a historic place in 1960, one of the main government databases, the Federal Real Property Profile, has it’s status listed as unknown. Meanwhile that same database shows the National Parks Service as having 1,500 historic landmark buildings in 2011. But the NPS reported to an architectural advisory council that it only had 177 historic landmark buildings.
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