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Huntington Corps building renovations nearing completion

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By JIM ROSS

For The State Journal

Security and environmental upgrades of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers building in downtown Huntington are on track for substantial completion by this November.

Construction work has forced changes at the intersection of 5th Avenue and 8th Street in downtown Huntington, one of the busiest in the city.

More than 500 employees of the Corps’ Huntington office have had to move around since construction began.

Early in the planning process, there had been concerns that the Corps would have to move out of the building because it did not meet the Department of Defense’s post-9/11 security standards. After intervention from Huntington’s congressional delegation, a new design was submitted and the Corps could remain downtown.

The Corps leases the building from the General Services Administration. The GSA released a statement this week saying it prefers to retrofit older buildings and consolidate existing properties as opposed to building new offices on greenfield sites.

“The mission of GSA is to deliver the best value in real estate, acquisition, and technology services to government and the American people,” the statement reads. “Part of delivering the best value in real estate is to be good stewards of our owned inventory.

“In almost every case, it is more cost effective to invest in an owned asset versus temporarily leasing space to house the needs of federal agencies. GSA recognizes this and is taking steps toward reducing our entire leased inventory and moving these tenants from those locations into our federally owned buildings.

“Additionally, by moving tenants into our federal buildings, which are usually in downtown areas, we further our partnerships with local governments and help contribute to Central Business Districts. These actions on behalf of GSA also help to save taxpayer dollars and also support job growth by bringing people back into downtown areas.

“The Huntington Federal Building renovation emphasizes GSA’s commitment to stewardship of our federal building inventory. … Project highlights include installation of a new high performance HVAC system, replacement of all windows, and a new facade.”

When completed, the six-story building will have energy-efficiency improvements including a high-performance heating and cooling system, new windows and a solar energy system on the roof.

The energy-efficiency improvements will cost about $27.5 million. Security improvements will run another $20.1 million.

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