The Department of the Interior (DOI) approved $139,000 in taxpayer funds to replace three sets of double doors leading into Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s office.
The exorbitant sum has nothing to do with massive increases in security such as installing electronic locks and latches, biometric scanning systems and retina readers, as some media reports have suggested. The high price is largely due to federal regulations governing the procurement process and historic landmark protection.
“This project was requested by career facilities and security officials at Interior as part of the decade-long modernization of the historic FDR-era building. The secretary was not aware of this contract but agrees that this is a lot of money for demo, install, materials, and labor,” DOI Spokeswoman Heather Swift told The Daily Caller News Foundation in a statement. “Between regulations that require historic preservation and outdated government procurement rules, the costs for everything from pencils to printing to doors is astronomical. This is a perfect example of why the Secretary believes we need to reform procurement processes.”
The project to replace the doors dates back 11 years ago when the DOI began remodeling parts of the secretary’s office. New doors of glass and wood were installed to stop drafts from doors leading onto the secretary’s patio. By the time the entire remodel was completed two years ago, however, the doors needed to be replaced again. Drafts were coming through worse than before and water was seeping under the doors onto the historic hardwood floor during rain, Interior officials told TheDCNF.
The new doors leading outside will be made of fiberglass, advised by the Office of Facilities and Administrative Services as a better and longer lasting alternative to wood or steel. A set of interior doors will include a modest increase in security: working locks.
As per regulations governing any work done on historic landmarks, the contractor must take precautions to protect the trim, carpet, floors and other historical objects while replacing the doors. This requires constant attention through demolition, installation, painting and cleanup.
All three sets of doors are custom built according to regulation to fit in with the décor and historic perspective of the office, according to department officials.
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