In fact, federal courthouses, buildings, border stations and ports of entry across the country are being renovated and retrofitted to become more energy efficient with some $5.55 billion to be spent over the next several years.
View full sizeThe 32-story Anthony J. Celebrezze building in Cleveland will get a new roof. The main change, however, will be a new facade or cladding on the building designed to save energy -- likely a curtain wall that will envelope the current building.
The Celebrezze makeover is the largest project in the Great Lakes states and one of the largest in the country. Federal buildings across Ohio are getting $211 million in renovation work.
The aim is to make the U.S. General Services Association, which owns and manages federal office space, a leader in green building technology and a proving ground for retrofitting buildings, Robert Peck, GSA's commissioner of public buildings, has said.
Some of the targeted buildings are 100 years old. The Celebrezze opened 44 years ago.
The building has undergone other recent renovations, including a $1.8 million lobby extension in 2004 that added room for security equipment and eliminated a choke point at the East Ninth Street entrance that often forced the public to wait outside in line to get into the building.
In 2008, more than $31 million was spent on the building, adding fire alarms and repairing leaking plazas that flank the building and act as a roof over the basement dining areas and offices. Outside, dozens of trees were planted and a new walkway and lighting were installed.
Chicago-based Interactive Design has been picked as the architecture firm for the current renovation and DCK North America, out of Pennsylvania, is the general contractor.
"It's a fully occupied building and it will remain so during construction," said Charles Young, the lead architect on the project. "That will be sort of the challenge – clad the building while it remains occupied."
Young said the current building, with single pane windows, was built at a time when "energy was so cheap you just put up a wall and overcome the outside by pouring in more and more heat."
A design for the building isn't expected for another six weeks or so. And construction won't get under way until 2011, said David Wilkinson, GSA spokesman for Great Lakes Region 5, which includes Ohio.
Other cities are further along in their designs.
In Portland, Ore., residents are contemplating a change for the Edith Green-Wendell Wyatt Federal Building that would add a series of 250-foot trellises that would create an actual green wall with live plants growing and shading the west wall of the building.
Other projects in Cleveland include $1.2 million in work on the Carl B. Stokes U.S. Courthouse at Superior Avenue and Huron Road, which opened in 2002 at a cost of more than $192 million.
And the old Federal Building on Superior Avenue, renamed for longtime Sen. Howard Metzenbaum, had $50 million worth of renovations completed in 2005. It is getting upgrades worth about $368,000.
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