Huntington federal building will have a different look - Beckley, Bluefield & Lewisburg News, Weather, Sports

Huntington federal building will have a different look

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This postcard shows the Huntington Federal Building as it looked when it was built in 1960. This postcard shows the Huntington Federal Building as it looked when it was built in 1960.
An artist’s rendering shows what the Huntington Federal Building will look like when a $47.6 million remodeling is completed. An artist’s rendering shows what the Huntington Federal Building will look like when a $47.6 million remodeling is completed.

By JAMES E. CASTO
For The State Journal

HUNTINGTON — Work continues on a massive $47.6 million remodeling in progress at the downtown federal office building that houses the Huntington District headquarters of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. 

The construction work has forced alterations in the traffic pattern at 5th Avenue and 8th Street and temporarily displaced some of the more than 500 Corps of Engineers employees who work in the building. The federal General Services Administration, which owns the building, says the remodeling is on schedule to be completed sometime during the summer of 2015. 

When the work is finished, the building, built in 1960, will have a new façade and a vastly different appearance. 

The project includes work intended to transform the structure into an energy-efficient "green building" and post-9/11 security improvements mandated by the Department of Defense.

In addition to the new façade, the energy-efficiency improvements include installing a new high-performance heating and cooling system, replacing the building's windows and placing a solar energy system on the roof. The Corps of Engineers and the GSA have declined to release any specifics of the security improvements being installed.

The energy-efficiency improvements are slated to cost $27.5 million and the security improvements $20.1 million.

When the work began, some employees were temporarily relocated to the office wing of the Pullman Plaza Hotel and the adjacent Sidney L. Christie Federal Building (the former Huntington Post Office) located on 5th Avenue next to the building that houses the Corps.

The project's interior construction work began on the top floor and has worked its way down. The GSA says work on the top four floors is now complete and employees have moved back in. Work on the third floor is scheduled for completion this fall.

When the remodeling work was first announced, the GSA said all the employees who work for the Corps would have to move out of the building and into temporary quarters for as long as three years. Later, the Corps reported it had been unable to find a suitable temporary location and was looking at all its possible options, including a permanent move of its district office to some other city. That announcement triggered immediate protests from local Huntington officials and members of West Virginia's congressional delegation.

A later round of negotiations resulted in the temporary shifting of employees to the Pullman Plaza and the Christie Building.