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White House Undergoing Renovations

Thursday, August 10, 2017

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The White House is undergoing renovations until Aug. 20, during the period when the president customarily takes a vacation.

A White House spokesperson told Town & Country that the “massive renovation”—which is taking place in the West Wing—will be addressing necessary fixes, rather than cosmetic. The work is being completed by the General Services Administration, and includes refurbishing and repainting cracked stairs, along with exterior electrical upgrades.

Given the age of the White House, this particular set of renovations is part of a much larger overhaul, the White House spokesperson said.

“Many of the existing systems are in dire need of repair and replacement, which is why this renovation is so crucial. The GSA teams will be working around the clock to complete these projects; they're preparing to have people here 24/7,” the spokesperson added.


The renovations will include:

  • Upgrading exterior electrical components, as well as power-washing and resurfacing an exterior door;
  • Upgrading the HVAC system, which is 27 years old and runs all hours of the day (making it effectively 81 years old);
  • Refurbishing the cracked stairs that lead from the White House to the South Lawn—a job that has not been done in 64 years;
  • Repairing leaks in the West Wing lower press area;
  • Renovation of the Navy Mess kitchen;
  • Freshening up colors with new paint and renovation, which involves the replacement of carpets and curtains; and
  • The removal of the temporary stairs by the press briefing room.

The West Wing

The work itself was approved under the Obama administration, but unlike the typical White House renovations, this period will see West Wing staffers not currently accompanying the president relocated to the Eisenhower Executive Office Building.

Renovations being done during this period are known as “West Wing Phase Two Renovations,” given that this follows the initial 2012 renovation.

The upgrade for the West Wing HVAC was awarded in 2014, a GSA spokesperson informed Town & Country, for a total of $1.965 million. They added that, as it stands, the current HVAC will fail in the near future if no one intervenes, given the system is well beyond its service life. Originally, the New York Times reported, the HVAC was slated for replacement in 2014.

As for replacing the carpeting, that will weigh in at a cost of $1.17 million, with an overall painting touchup costing $275,000. The GSA spokesperson also noted that the cost is about average, or slightly under, what the three prior administrations have spent. Unlike prior administrations, which would usually have the painting and carpet replacement done close to inauguration day, President Donald J. Trump’s office decided to wait until the August break.

Currently, it is not expected for the briefing room or the press work space to be impacted by the renovation.

The General Service Administration and Contractors

According to Town & Country, the GSA is using two 8(a) firms for the work. This kind of designation refers to a “minority-owned, small, disadvantaged business.” A third contractor on the job—Cypress Painting Systems, Inc.—was also part of that class at the time the contract was awarded, but no longer is.

Calvary Mechanical Co., Inc. is doing the work on the West Wing HVAC, with Microbase Corporation replacing the carpets, and Cypress taking care of the paint.

Trump is currently on vacation in Bedminster, N.J. while the renovations are taking place.


Tagged categories: Historic Preservation; Historic Structures; Maintenance + Renovation; North America; President Trump; Renovation

Comment from Jesse Melton, (8/10/2017, 8:16 AM)

"...will be addressing necessary fixes, rather than cosmetic".

Which includes: Freshening up colors with new paint and renovation, which involves the replacement of carpets and curtains.

Why do they need to pre-justify the cosmetic changes? It's irritating that they won't just say things. Talking like they do just seems disingenuous.

Comment from Phil Kabza, (8/10/2017, 11:25 AM)

Impressed that the scope of work also involves fixing the leaks occurring with the Press Corps. Didn't know GSA handled such issues.

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