From: NASA Office of Inspector General
Posted: Wednesday, June 22, 2011
NASA Inspector General Paul Martin today released a report that examines the $32.8 million re-siding project for Hangar One - one of the world's largest freestanding structures - at NASA's Ames Research Center in Silicon Valley, California. Hangar One, built in the 1930s to house the naval airship the USS Macon, covers approximately 8 acres and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. NASA acquired the hangar in 1994 as a result of the base realignment and closure process that involved Moffett Field, a Navy base adjoining Ames.
In 2002-2003, NASA discovered that polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) were leaking from the siding of Hangar One. After significant discussions, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) determined that the Navy would pay for the environmental cleanup but NASA would be responsible for the cost of residing the hangar and any additional upgrades necessary to prepare it for reuse. In April 2011, the Navy began removing Hangar One's siding.
At OMB's direction, NASA included the residing project in the President's fiscal year (FY) 2012 budget request at an estimated cost of $32.8 million. With these funds, NASA proposes to make the structure watertight by installing new exterior siding, roofing, and windows.
This Office of Inspector General (OIG) review examined whether the $32.8 million will cover the full costs of the Hangar One project, whether NASA has identified a NASA-related use or private tenants for the hangar, and the effect dedicating funds to Hangar One restoration may have on other NASA construction or renovation projects.
Our review found that even after the residing is complete, significant additional funding will be required - potentially tens of millions of dollars - for installation of lighting, heating, cooling, and safety equipment to make the building fit for use. Moreover, NASA has neither identified a mission-related use for Hangar One nor identified private tenants willing to commit to leasing the property. At the same time, other mission-critical Agency renovation projects were removed from NASA's FY 2012 budget request in order to accommodate inclusion of the Hangar One project.
In light of our findings and NASA's overall challenges related to maintaining its aging facilities, we question whether preservation of Hangar One is the best use of limited NASA funds and recommend that before moving forward with the residing project the Agency consider the full range of alternatives, including various approaches to re-side and upgrade the hangar, demolish the structure, or transfer it to another Government entity.
NASA agreed with our findings and said it plans to evaluate the full range of alternatives by November 30, 2011.
The full report can be found on the OIG's website at http://oig.nasa.gov/ under "Reading Room" or at the following link: http://oig.nasa.gov/audits/reports/FY11/IG-11-020.pdf
Please contact Renee Juhans at (202) 358-1712 if you have questions.
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