PaintSquare.com
      | Connect Follow us on Twitter Like us on Facebook
About | Subscribe | Advertise
  

 

Free Download of our eBook on Overcoating Bridges and Other Structures

Paint and Coatings Industry News

Main News Page


Ike Memorial Panned as ‘5-Star Folly’

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

More items for Program/Project Management

Comment | More

After 15 years, $65 million in appropriations, and not a shovel of dirt turned, the Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial Commission can add a congressional oversight panel to its growing list of critics.

Congress has already cut construction funding, and even the Eisenhower family has objected to the execution of the memorial, which was conceived as a six-year, $100 million project.

Now, the controversial project has been dissected in a scathing staff report by the U.S. House Committee on Natural Resources.

Eisenhower Memorial EisenhowerMemorial
Eisenhower Memorial Commission

The four-acre site would be framed by three stainless-steel tapestries featuring scenery from Kansas. The tapestries would be supported by a colonnade of limestone-clad columns 80 feet tall.

The details consume 58 pages, but the committee makes its point in the title: A Five-Star Folly: An Investigation into the Cost Increases, Construction Delays, and Design Problems that Have Been a Disservice to the Effort to Memorialize Dwight D. Eisenhower.

The findings include allegations that the commission has:

  • Paid more than $1.4 million to fundraising companies that have raised less than $500,000 toward a $35 million goal;
  • Awarded several contracts to sole-source vendors without an open competition; and
  • Modified "almost every contract" multiple times, to the tune of "millions of dollars in additional costs."

'Repeated Failure'

Although not officially adopted by the committee, the staff report is a detailed indictment of the time and resources expended on the 15-year-old memorial project: from its "unprecedented" design selection process, to its "repeated failure to satisfy all legal requirements," to its "unanticipated costs and delays due to conversial elements of the selected design."

The report raises "significant questions that undermine the viability" of the controversial Frank Gehry design to memorialize the nation's 34th President and Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces in Europe during World War II.

The report is merely the latest chorus of criticism about the project's design and progress. Other critics include:

The 12-member Memorial Commission was established in 1999 and did not select a site until 2005. It selected the Gehry design in 2008 after a competition. Gehry, now 85, says he had not designed a memorial before but was intrigued by Eisenhower.

Honoring Ike

Critics are not challenging the merits of the project—just its execution.

IkeMemorial
Eisenhower Memorial Commission

Critics, including the Eisenhower family, call the design too elaborate and expensive, with unknown maintenance costs. The design also violates guidelines laid down years before it was submitted for approval.

"Everyone, critics and advocates alike, want a memorial, a monument, that truly honors President Eisenhower and helps future generations of Americans undersand and appreciate his role in American history," U.S. Rep. Rob Bishop (R-UT) told an oversight hearing on the project in 2012.

That's about all critics and advocates agree on, however. The design, critics say, is too elaborate, too expensive, and too vulnerable to the elements. And the process, they say, has been unaccountable and out of control.

The four-acre site off the National Mall would be framed by three stainless-steel tapestries featuring scenery from Kansas. The tapestries would be supported by a colonnade of limestone-clad columns 80 feet tall and 10 feet in diameter.

The memorial’s core would feature limestone bas-relief blocks, free-standing bronze sculpture, quotations that honor Eisenhower, and a 2,400-square-foot visitor center.

$65.4M Appropriation

Congress has appropriated about $65.4 million for the project since the commission was established. More than  $40 million of that has been spent, the report says.

Not only has construction not begun, but Congress revoked the commission's construction authority in 2013. The commission has not met since June 2013 and does not plan to meet until next month.

Daniel Fiel Frank Gehry
Eisenhower Memorial Commission (left); Creative Commons (right)

The commission has paid more than $11 million toward a $19 million contract with architect Frank Gehry (right) and $1.7 million to its own Executive Architect, Daniel Fiel (left).

Also last year, Bishop and six co-sponsors introduced an unsuccessful bill, the Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial Completion Act, that would have limited terms on the commission and prohibited the use of federal funds for the project.

$19M Gehry Contract

The House report says that an accounting of the memorial costs is still incomplete, but it does note:

  • $11 million paid and $3.3 million in pending payments to Gehry and his firm for a design that does not meet legal requirements and design principles outlined in 2006. Including unexercised options, the Gehry contract totals $19 million;
  • Payments of more than $7.2 million to Gilbane Building Company, to manage construction and design;
  • Payments of almost $1.7 million to Executive Architect Daniel Feil for design management;
  • Millions of dollars spent to support the commission's politically connected nine-member staff and offices;
  • A jury evaluation that deemed the design entries "mediocre" and recommended an additional round of submissions—a recommendation the commission ignored; and
  • A design selection process that "substantially deviated from the standard Design Excellence Program" and was "weighted" to favor a well-known designer like Gehry.

"With millions spent," the panel concludes, "there is no memorial, and not even a memorial design that can be approved for construction."

   

Tagged categories: Architects; Construction; Design; Frank Gehry; Government contracts; Historic Structures; Monuments; Project Management

Comment from Tony Rangus, (9/2/2014, 4:54 PM)

Doesn't this sound like it needs some felony prosecutions?


Comment Join the Conversation:

Sign in to our community to add your comments.

Desco Mfg. Co., Inc.
DUST-FREE SOLUTIONS For Lead Abatement

Tools operate at levels well below OSHA limits for hazardous material removal; meet SP11 specifications when required and low vibration tools increase productivity.


Novetas Solutions
Safer Abrasive! 100% Recycled Glass!

NO Free Silica, Beryllium or other human Toxins! Great White Metal Finish and safer than Slags!
Call us at 866-775- 6226


Nationwide Overspray
Profession Overspray Removal Services

The Finest Name in Safe Overspray Removal. We specialize in removing all contaminants from any surface. Family Owned and Operated for 33 years! Fully insured. Satisfaction is guaranteed.


Park Derochie Coatings Ltd.
www.ParkDerochie.com

Coatings          Fireproofing
Sandblasting     Scaffolding
Metalizing           Insulation

• Shop & Field Services
• SSPC Certified
• NACE Inspectors on staff
• New Construction &
  Maintenance Programs


Seymour Midwest
Coating Application Tools & Supplies

Visit our “Where to Buy” site to find a local paint or tool supplier near you. Click here for a chance to win $500 of Tools & Supplies. 1(844)739-6687 Sales@SeymourMidwest.com


Easy-Kleen Pressure Systems Ltd.
HIGH PRESSURE HOT WATER/STEAM UNITS

3000 to 8000 PSI ALL IN ONE: Water tank, reels and unit enclosed in an industrial skid frame. Call Today and ask about the Fill & Play Series 1-800-315-5533


Fischer Technology Inc.
Measure TSA Coatings on Stainless Steel

The PHASCOPE® PMP10 from FISCHER precisely measures thermally sprayed aluminum (TSA) on stainless steel.


Carboline Company
Fireproofing Solutions

Pyroclad® X1 Thermo-Lag® Pyrocrete® – protecting against hydrocarbon and jet fires, explosions, and cryogenic spills.


Bullard

The Next Generation
of Blasting

• Lightest
• Coolest
• Most Comfortable
• Most Dependable


Mitsubishi Gas Chemical America
Performance Amine 1,3-BAC

A highly reactive cycloaliphatic diamine offering superior performance. Reasonable cost and curing efficacy makes it suitable for all types of epoxy resin applications.

 
 
 
Technology Publishing

The Technology Publishing Network

The Journal of Protective Coatings & Linings (JPCL) PaintSquare
Durability + Design Paint BidTracker

 
EXPLORE:      JPCL   |   PaintSquare News   |   Interact   |   Buying Guides   |   Webinars   |   Resources   |   Classifieds
REGISTER AND SUBSCRIBE:      Free PaintSquare Registration   |   Subscribe to JPCL   |   Subscribe to PaintSquare News
MORE:      About PaintSquare.com   |   Privacy policy   |   Terms & conditions   |   Site Map   |   Search   |   Contact Us
 

© Copyright 2000-2016, Technology Publishing / PaintSquare, All rights reserved
2100 Wharton Street, Suite 310, Pittsburgh PA 15203-1951; Tel 1-412-431-8300; Fax 1-412-431-5428; E-mail webmaster@paintsquare.com