Page 1       TOP OF DOC



PLEASE NOTE: The following transcript is a portion of the official hearing record of the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure. Additional material pertinent to this transcript may be found on the web site of the Committee at [http://www.house.gov/transportation]. Complete hearing records are available for review at the Committee offices and also may be purchased at the U.S. Government Printing Office.







 Page 2       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC





MAY 2, 1996

Printed for the use of the

Committee on Transportation and Infrastucture


BUD SHUSTER, Pennsylvania, Chairman

WILLIAM F. CLINGER, Jr., Pennsylvania
THOMAS E. PETRI, Wisconsin
HOWARD COBLE, North Carolina
 Page 3       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
JOHN J. DUNCAN, Jr., Tennessee
WILLIAM H. ZELIFF, Jr., New Hampshire
BILL BAKER, California
JAY KIM, California
STEPHEN HORN, California
BOB FRANKS, New Jersey
PETER I. BLUTE, Massachusetts
JOHN L. MICA, Florida
ZACH WAMP, Tennessee
RANDY TATE, Washington
RAY LaHOOD, Illinois
 Page 4       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

NICK J. RAHALL II, West Virginia
ROBERT A. BORSKI, Pennsylvania
ROBERT E. WISE, Jr., West Virginia
BOB CLEMENT, Tennessee
ELEANOR HOLMES NORTON, District of Columbia
PAT DANNER, Missouri
JAMES E. CLYBURN, South Carolina
BOB FILNER, California
 Page 5       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
FRANK MASCARA, Pennsylvania
GENE TAYLOR, Mississippi

Subcommittee on Public Buildings and Economic Development
WAYNE T. GILCHREST, Maryland, Chairman
JOHN J. DUNCAN, Jr., Tennessee
PETER I. BLUTE, Massachusetts
BUD SHUSTER, Pennsylvania
(Ex Officio)

ROBERT E. WISE, Jr., West Virginia
ELEANOR HOLMES NORTON, District of Columbia
 Page 6       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
(Ex Officio)


    Dooley, Hon. Calvin M., a Representative in Congress from California

    Peck, Robert A., Commissioner, Public Buildings Service, U.S. General Services Administration, accompanied by June Huber, Assistant Commissioner, Portfolio Management, Dianne Walters, Architect, and Dennis Goldstein

    Stahl, Hon. Norman H., Judge, U.S. Court of Appeals, 1st Circuit (New Hampshire), and Member, Committee on Security, Space, and Facilities, Judicial Conference of the United States


    Dooley, Hon. Calvin M., of California

    Oberstar, Hon. James L., of Minnesota

    Traficant, Hon. James A., of Ohio


 Page 7       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Peck, Robert A

    Stahl, Hon. Norman H


Peck, Robert, Commissioner, Public Buildings Service, U.S. General Services Administration:
Responses to post hearing questions

Reducing Courthouse Construction Costs, Courthouse Management Group White Paper

Feasibility Study on the Leasing of Border Stations, report, May 1996

Stahl, Hon. Norman H., Judge, U.S. Court of Appeals, 1st Circuit (New Hampshire), and Member, Committee on Security, Space, and Facilities, Judicial Conference of the United States:

Five-Year Courthouse Plan 1997–2001, chart

Responses to post hearing questions


    Berne, Bernard H., M.D., Ph.D., Medical Officer, Food and Drug Administration, statement and attachments

 Page 8       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Builders Owners and Managers Association International, statement



U.S. House of Representatives,

Subcommittee on Public Buildings and Economic Development,

Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure,

Washington, DC.

    The subcommittee met, pursuant to notice, at 10:11 a.m. in room 2253, Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. Wayne Gilchrest (chairman of the subcommittee) presiding.

    Mr. GILCHREST. The Subcommittee on Public Buildings and Grounds and Economic Development will come to order.

    I have a statement I will read in part a little bit later on and submit the entire statement to the record, but, for the sake of time and my colleague from California, I think we'll get started.

    [The prepared statements of Mr. Oberstar and Mr. Traficant follow:]
 Page 9       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    [Insert here.]

    Mr. GILCHREST. Congressman Dooley will be first to give his testimony.

    Good morning, Cal.


    Mr. DOOLEY. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and thank you, Ms. Norton, for giving me the opportunity to testify. With your permission, I'll submit a written statement for the record.

    What I'm here testifying on today is basically encouraging this committee to include the Fresno Federal building and courthouse project in its authorization for the capital investment program of 1997.

    I understand full well that this committee has been hesitant in authorizing any new starts in terms of courthouses, but I'm here to make a case that the Fresno courthouse is a project that ought to be given special consideration, and special consideration for a number of reasons.

    I think you're aware that this committee visited the Fresno courthouse and also visited with Judge Coyle, who is the presiding judge of the eastern district, and had a chance to see first-hand some of the needs.
 Page 10       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    I know at that visit it was pointed out that the Fresno district has the highest population per judgeship of any district in the county, and also the eastern district of California serves one of the fastest-growing areas in the country, and that we anticipate, over the next 5 years, that you will see as many as five additional judges that will be needed in order to handle the case load in that region.

    The present courthouse is just not adequate. It already has fewer courtrooms than it does have judges, and it is just not going to be large enough or have the capacity to serve the increased case load that is projected.

    This is also backed up by the Administrative Office of Courts, who, during their analysis, has placed this need for this courthouse in its top 20 of all projects, and when they looked at those projects which are ready to go forward, this courthouse places in the top 15.

    The need I think is obvious. When you look at why it should receive some special consideration, this project, while it is technically a new start, I think is far beyond what the traditional definition of new starts fall into.

    There has already been a feasibility study for the project, which was completed in 1993. A prospectus was completed by GSA. And, even more importantly, I think, is that the city of Fresno has really, I think, demonstrated its commitment to work with the Federal Government, and that they are willing to donate the land on which this courthouse would be located, and even just recently developed a memorandum of understanding with the GSA for off-site improvements that would also include parking and other amenities for the project.
 Page 11       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    A few days ago I testified in front of the Appropriations Committee asking for $9.6 million for this project. If the GSA accepts the offer by the city of Fresno, there will be $4.6 million that would come off of that figure, because that is the value of the land that would be donated that would not have to be then funded out of Federal funds.

    So I think we have a project here that certainly can be substantiated on the basis of need. It's a project which I think is a clear demonstration of a local/Federal partnership with certainly a commitment of the city of Fresno. That is something which I think this Government and this committee should encourage.

    With that, I hope that this committee will give great consideration to consider the authorization of the Federal courthouse in Fresno in this year.

    I'm available for any questions.

    Mr. GILCHREST. Thank you, Cal. It really has become a team effort to scrutinize the cost, the construction, the new technology, the safety factors, the need for a larger courthouse and more judges, because there are more people, and with more people there is more crime.

    We have looked at this one as carefully as we can, as we have a number of others, and we certainly appreciate your coming here this morning to testify on its behalf. I know it's one of the priorities with the AOC, and with you coming here it helps us prioritize it, as well.
 Page 12       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Ms. Norton.

    Ms. NORTON. No questions. I want to welcome my colleague here. I understand fully the problems he faces.

    Mr. GILCHREST. I did have a question that you don't have to answer now, though, Cal, but it's a thought as to the site. The $4 million is a positive input into reducing the Federal cost, but you might want to take a look at whether or not the site is in a floodplain.

    Mr. DOOLEY. There has been extensive work done on that, Mr. Gilchrest, and the city of Fresno has been working with GSA, as well as with FEMA, as well as with the Army Corps to re-evaluate the floodplain.

    Unfortunately, the floodplain maps that are currently being utilized did not take into consideration the completion of the Red Bank Fancher Creek Dam that certainly reduces the potential for any type of flooding.

    I think that we are at the point now—very close—in negotiations where GSA is going to agree that we really have a situation here where there can be reevaluation of that floodplain.

    Again, just in terms of the type of flooding that we're facing in Fresno, this is a sheet flooding situation. We're not talking about being next to a river, by any means. We're talking about a matter of potentially an inch or two in terms of its inclusion in a floodplain.
 Page 13       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    There is clearly the ability, even if we didn't get the change in the floodplain, to do site improvements that easily elevates it above the floodplain.

    This is a situation where you're standing—if this was one block and that other table was another block, you could see no visual difference in elevation whatsoever, but across the street is not in the floodplain, yet this block is in the floodplain. In fact, the site in the block upon which the city is willing to donate has one corner of it that is not in the floodplain, which again is only a matter of an inch or two difference in elevation.

    Mr. GILCHREST. Is this a consideration GSA is looking at?

    Mr. DOOLEY. Yes, it is. And there has been very constructive and positive conversations between GSA and the city of Fresno. Senator Boxer and I had the former regional director, Roger Johnson, down to Fresno. We went over this issue. I'm very confident that we're going to see a resolution in the next—almost immediately.

    Mr. GILCHREST. Thank you very much. Thanks a lot, Cal.

    Mr. DOOLEY. Thank you.

    [The prepared statement of Mr. Dooley follows:]

    [Insert here.]

 Page 14       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Mr. GILCHREST. Next to give testimony is Mr. Robert Peck, Commissioner of Public Buildings Service, GSA, and the Honorable Norman H. Stahl, U.S. Court of Appeals, First Circuit, New Hampshire; and member, Committee on Security, Space, and Facilities, Judicial Conference of the United States.


    Just before you give your testimony, I'd like to say a few brief words.

    I know you're here this morning to talk about the capital budget, fiscal year 1997, which will include new courthouses, and there will also be a number of buildings to be renovated, as well, and all of these things, as we all well know, are extremely costly.

    The effort, I think, put forth by the AOC, by GSA, by—what would we say the U.S. Congress is? USC?


    Mr. GILCHREST. U.S. Congress. I think the effort put forth by a number of people over the past year to year and a half has been a very strong effort to come to terms with some serious problems that the country is facing. One is a problem of crime and how you administer justice. Two is a problem of balancing the Federal budget and trying to find some fiscally-responsible way to spend the taxpayers' dollars as efficiently as possible.

    I would like to say that my involvement in this effort—I see it as very positive. There has been some contentious swings in the rhetoric between different groups and different interests, but for the most part I think, with what the Senate did and what the House has done as far as authorizing courthouse construction for fiscal year 1996, which we hope will be settled in the next couple of weeks, and now we're entering a new era of fiscal year 1997, I would hope that what we learned in 1996 will go a long way to helping us conclude, at least in a short term, the type of team effort that must happen in order to achieve the goals that the public not only wants and not only demands, but essentially needs.
 Page 15       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Now, what I want to do, just to sort of lay the groundwork here, in a positive way—although some of this might not sound so positive. I'm an eternally optimistic person, always positive. But in January's—and I don't read this as much as I read ''Sports Illustrated,'' but I want to read some things that I read out of this magazine, actually on my way to work this morning. I was a little late in a breakfast in Chestertown, so it took me a little while to get here.

    What I want to do though is to read what I read in this magazine, which basically goes out to all the architects and all the judges and all the people around the countryside that are interested in Federal courthouses. They get some sense of how we work here in Washington. It's not always the case.

    Let me read a couple of paragraphs, if I may.

    ''But design excellence—'' and it talks about courthouses and how they need to have something substantial built into them so they last a long time, and I also recognize that we can't have judicial proceedings in old high school gymnasiums, so I don't want to go to that extreme.

    ''But design excellence, the GSA's new program to construct such architecture, has generated aggressive opposition in Congress, particularly to the courthouse program. The language of that resistance is carefully parched in sound bites and presented as concern for fiscal limitations, has demeaned the courthouse building program within opposite flights of metaphor, wilful misconceptions, and programmatic needs intentionally misrepresented of the nature of spaces and hyperbolic inaccuracies about materials.
 Page 16       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    ''The effect has not been to advance a conversation about architectural aspiration, but to debase it. The difficulty of obtaining an audience for any reasoned response, recalled Alexis DeTocqueville, observed a false but clear and precise idea always has more power in the world than one which is true but complex.''

    Now, from this subcommittee's perspective, we have not used flowery metaphors to our advantage in the next reelection campaign in our approach to the construction of courthouses. We have gone forth in a very deliberative manner, not only for courthouse construction, but for construction of all Federal buildings, in a way that insures, to the best of our knowledge, to build the best kind of buildings that reflect this democracy and so they'll last for generations to come.

    Here's another little quote by President Lincoln: ''the public has a right to see that justice, which is at the foundation of any healthy society, commands our careful attention at all times, but particular during hard times.''

    This is a quote represented that they continued to build the U.S. Capitol during the Civil War. It was hard times, and there was not much money around, but Lincoln said, ''We need to do it to show America that we are still strong and we're still a symbol of democracy.''

    I'm glad they continued to build the Capitol Building during hard times.

    This doesn't mean, however, that we don't take careful consideration about how we leverage our limited Federal dollars, and this doesn't mean—even though we would like to have 150 new courthouses, all of exemplary and spacious design, this does mean that there needs to be some checks and balances.
 Page 17       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Just a couple more. ''Since the Federal Building program is frequently politicized by Members of Congress as pork barrel spending, the GSA is sticking to well-known architects who presumably are less likely to violate public tastes and budgets.''

    I know that that has changed in GSA because you're getting more architects out there to give more designs, and that diversity is somewhat encouraging, although I do like the old courthouse. Anyway, that's not for me to decide, thank goodness.

    Then I guess I could continue on a number of—here's one—''Our goal is to build 20th century courthouses that subsequent generations will want to preserve.'' That's from the GSA's architect, and I think we have that in mind. I certainly don't want to build a courthouse that we're going to have to rebuild or expand in any substantial way in 20 years. I mean, if the Parthenon is still standing, we at this juncture of human civilization should be able to build one that will last also 1,000 years—if we can take care of the acid rain, I guess. That's another committee.

    ''Instead, the GSA program has produced outcries against judicial Taj Mahals from legislators working within their own luxurious marble corridors—'' I'm in the Cannon Building. You ought to go see what the Senators live like. And I understand. We're fair game for people that want to throw arrows, certainly fair game—''Who appear—'' but this is the part—I'm not going to say who wrote these articles. I get this at town meetings about gun control. ''Outcries from legislators about Taj Mahals who live and work in their own luxurious corridors who appear ignorant of the growing power and responsibility of the Federal court system.''
 Page 18       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    I'd like to tell you that we are not ignorant of the problems in the Federal court system.

    These statements are not necessarily targeted at the people that are here in this room, but when this type of articles—and there are several articles in here—spread around across the country, it looks like the very difficult work that we have endeavored to engage in over the past year is trivialized, and it isn't trivialized.

    Now, we're going to authorize—I hope next week, and we're pushing to get those things authorized—a number of Federal courthouses that we have been working on the past year in 1996, but please, we don't want to be in the same position this time next year if we don't have the same integrated sense of cooperation.

    There are Members in this Congress that still do not want any courthouses built at all. Now, I'm not sure if they see beyond that. But unless we have a sense of some fiscal—you know, the resources are limited out there, very limited, and they're becoming more limited all the time.

    I would like to have all these courthouses that are in these magazines built in a very timely fashion, but each of these courthouses by this committee are going to be relatively scrutinized.

    All right. I remain optimistic about the future, but, as another occupant of the Cannon Building and eventually the White House said, ''Let the word go forth that we want to work together as a team on public buildings.''
 Page 19       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    At that, I apologize for taking extra time.

    I'd like to recognize Ms. Norton.

    Ms. NORTON. I have no statement at this time, Mr. Chairman.

    Mr. GILCHREST. Ms. Johnson.

    Ms. JOHNSON. I have no statement.

    Mr. GILCHREST. Thank you.

    I think there is a class in the back of the room from Queen Anne's County in the great State of Maryland who are fine youngsters in the middle school there that are visiting Washington now, and I didn't get a chance to see them earlier, and I'm not sure how much longer you're going to be here in the city. I won't be too much longer here—probably about another half hour or so. Are you going to be around?

    [Affirmative response.]

    Mr. GILCHREST. Okay. These children have engaged in some interesting work regarding drinking water and the water of the Chesapeake Bay and the Chester River to help EPA and the State agencies determine the quality of that water, so I hope some day that they take advantage of their learning experiences and actually are participants here in the Nation's capital to do the Nation's business. Welcome to Washington, you guys.
 Page 20       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Mr. Peck.


    Mr. PECK. Thank you, Mr. Chairman and members of the subcommittee, and also members of the middle school class from Queen Anne's County.

    I went to junior high school in Montgomery County, and if you don't watch out you'll end up here some day yourselves.


    Mr. PECK. Mr. Chairman, I would like to respond briefly to the ''Architecture'' magazine article, as I used to work for the American Institute of Architects—I shouldn't admit this right now—for whom that's the official magazine.

    I think what you quoted is an unfortunate aspect of a syndrome that the architecture profession sometimes falls victim to, namely that some architects seem to believe they work best under a siege mentality and believe that nobody quite appreciates what they do, and I think that sort of purple prose—and I used to say that when I worked there—doesn't help the cause of good design and good architecture.
 Page 21       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    The fact is, of course, that the Congress has worked in concert with GSA and the courts to provide a building program which is, in fact, building at this moment landmarks for the next century.

    We should be clear that the Capitol Building, in its time, when it was first designed in early 1790s, was, in fact, an expensive building for its time, but not extravagant compared to the norm for public buildings.

    All of the great 19th century landmarks that we built were fairly standard Federal buildings and Government buildings at the time.

    We're doing that today. I would particularly take issue with the statement in there that said that the people in Congress are forcing GSA to be too cautious of violating public taste and budgets. I think that was the quote you read.

    You're absolutely right. We are not in the business of designing buildings that violate public taste and budgets. We plead guilty. If we have a budget, we intend to stick to it. We are not hiring architects who are completely on the cutting edge. There are some architects who are on the cutting edge, some of whom I know, and I am not confident would design a courthouse that anyone would recognize as a courthouse, or at this time are capable of building a structurally-sound building.

    So yes, we probably do err a little bit on the side of caution but we are hiring some of the best award-winning architects in the country, as I think you know, and we are building a program of which we can all be proud.
 Page 22       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Justice Breyer, himself, at the annual gala to celebrate architecture, sponsored by the American Institute of Architects noted in his keynote to address that we have a long tradition of courthouses being houses of the people; that they are not supposed to be potentates' palaces. The judges, themselves, wear black robes so that they can be anonymous and fade into the background because they are supposed to dispense even-handed, non-subjective courthouses are buildings which have to welcome the public because we require that our proceedings take place in full view of the public with all the parties present and not in some isolated star chamber. So we have a lot of responsibilities when we build a courthouse.

    We have worked this program in partnership with Congress and with the courts. This is a nice transition into my statement.

    I have a statement which I would like to submit for the record.

    One thing I should also note approximately one month ago, had a hearing about the courts program and noted then how successful we've been in the past year, with the support of the Administrative Office of the Courts, the Judicial Conference, and the Congress, in providing a priority list of projects which our capital budget for this year follows to the extent it can. We can explain where there are minor deviations. Deviations have to do with construction and funding schedules and not with changes to the actual priorities of projects as the courts have determined them.

    We have worked through our courthouse management group on benchmarks which make sure that our courthouses hold to reasonable budgets that we can meet and which will provide appropriate facilities.
 Page 23       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Finally, let me move away from the courts for a moment and just try to put our program into context.

    We are here today to talk to you about our basic capital investment program, a program which the committee authorizes through prospectuses. The projects which we present to you are projects over the prospectus threshold—a threshold still under $2 million—but which does not represent, obviously, the entire public buildings program.

    Just to put it in context—I know when I was a staff member on the Senate committee we used to complain sometimes that we viewed projects in isolation from a program, and that's not what we in GSA do.

    I will describe to you what we are proposing to you, but I just want to note that our overall program is a program that runs about $5.5 billion a year. But even there, that's not the context in which you have to look at what we do. That includes, for example, annual lease payments, but those obligate the Government to much more significant expenditures over time.

    Our $5.5 billion in fiscal year 1996 is not a real estate investment for the Government and it's not an end in itself. In some of our facilities, obviously, we carry out the judicial functions of the Government; in others, functions like Social Security, Internal Revenue, FBI and DEA.

    The salaries and expenses of the people in our buildings, about a million Federal employees, amount to about $56 billion. Real estate should properly be viewed, as it is in the private sector, as a factor of production, as a means to get a job done. And so we think we should be measured against how efficiently we allow our client agencies to carry out their jobs for the American people.
 Page 24       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    To do that, we obviously have a lot of responsibilities with respect to the real estate inventory, and we regard it as an inventory. When we come to you with a capital investment program, we have reviewed plans from throughout the country and come up with what we think are the most important investments to accomplish two primary functions: one, to maintain the existing inventory of public buildings, which is some 2,000 buildings, a value we're not quite sure of and are working on, but probably in the neighborhood of $10 billion; and two, to meet the needs of our clients through new construction.

    Like any private sector asset manager, we take a look to see how much money we need to spend to update buildings that are functionally obsolete or just to maintain buildings so that they don't fall down, so that they can withstand acid rain or just the regular depredations of time—equipment wearing out; advances in technology which render some of the system which were built in many cases 50 or 60 years ago obsolete.

    In repair and alteration, which is our highest priority because you always maintain first what you have before you go out and buy new things, we are proposing 18 prospectus-level projects included in a total repair and alteration program of $775 million. The prospectus-level projects do not amount to that much, but I want to describe what we do have.

    There are, as I said, 18 prospectus-level projects. They include such things as projects for the replacement of elevators in the national capital region; $225 million goes to the modernization of ten Government-owned assets; $50 million in a prospectus for energy-savings projects, retrofits of mechanical equipment which will help us realize long-term savings by using less energy; $100 million for chlorofluorocarbons (CFC) replacements because CFCs are related to ozone depletion, which Queen Anne's County students may be interested in. It costs money up front to make sure that in the long run we don't degrade the environment.
 Page 25       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    And we have included two prospectuses for advanced design of future projects, which are customer service centers for the Internal Revenue Service in Andover, Massachusetts and Brookhaven, New York. Due to changes in the IRS program, we have, working with them, revised previous projects which we had designed to meet their revised needs for service center programs.

    Our second priority is construction projects, and there is always a question in this period of Government downsizing, why we are building new facilities.

    In fact, we are not building very many Federal office buildings, and you will see our list is almost all new construction of courthouses and border stations. We think it would be imprudent to build new offices when we are downsizing. We may come back to you at some point and say that we finally know where we're downsizing, when we're going to downsize, and it may be a good idea again to invest in long-term assets for the Government. We don't think that to be the case right now, because things are just too much up in the air for us to make those sorts of plans.

    We have, as I mentioned for the courts, provided you projects in priority order. There are 22 prospectus-level construction projects, 14 for courthouses 4 for border stations, and 2 for other special purpose facilities.

    Also, we are providing funding for site costs for the Food and Drug Administration consolidation project in Maryland, and for continued environmental remediation and site preparation at the Southeast Federal Center.
 Page 26       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Lastly, we have 12 lease prospectuses, and we may submit some lease prospectuses to you later in the year. They are still being reviewed outside of GSA.

    Finally, I would just say, in terms of priorities, that we generally recommend construction projects that were previously designed before we recommend funding of new starts.

    That's all I have to say. I'm prepared to answer questions. I have with me a number of staff people who know much more about the individual projects, because they work on them day-to-day, than I do, including our Assistant Commissioner for portfolio management, June Huber; Dianne Walters, an architect who is the head of our Courthouse Management Group and I think you've seen before; and Dennis Goldstein, who also works in Portfolio Management for us.

    That concludes my statement. I'm happy to answer any questions you might have right now.

    Mr. GILCHREST. Thank you, Mr. Peck.

    Mr. GILCHREST. Judge Stahl.

    Judge STAHL. Thank you, Mr. Chairman and members of the subcommittee. I'm pleased to be here this morning.

    I, too, welcome the students. It gives them an opportunity to see the branches of our Government at work doing the work of government, seeing to it that we do it properly.
 Page 27       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    My name is Norman Stahl. I presently serve on the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, and I have also served as a district court judge in the District of New Hampshire.

    Judge Robert Cowen, our chairman of the Judicial Conference Committee on Security, Space, and Facilities, is in court today and therefore was unable to be here and asked me to appear in his place.

    I appreciate the opportunity to appear before you today to discuss the courthouse portion of the General Services Administration fiscal year 1997 Federal building program.

    I have some personal experience with the courthouse construction process, as I have been involved from the very inception in the planning and construction of the new courthouse in Concord, New Hampshire. That building is scheduled to be opened and occupied early next year.

    Previously, much of my 34 years in the private sector and the practice of law involved construction and real property matters. I also served on the Conference Committee on Automation and Technology.

    I'd like to digress for just a minute to respond to the chairman's opening remarks, which I thought were quite apropos.

 Page 28       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Purple prose rarely adds much to the debate. We are about serious business, and I think what the committee and the Congress has been doing is fully justified, in reviewing a major program of the scope and cost of this program.

    I would comment, however, on architectural excellence and building design.

    I first appeared in Federal court—I hate to say this—in 1956 in a building built in 1870-something, what was then called the United States Post Office and Courthouse. It was a truly magnificent building with a truly magnificent courtroom. That building stands today, going into the 21st century, in full use by the State of New Hampshire as the legislative office building. It is still magnificent. The original materials are still there. They have stood the test of time and use.

    My law firm always owned its own real estate, and in 1986 the General Services Administration de-accessioned the Manchester, New Hampshire Post Office, a circa 1930s building which had served both as a Federal office building and as a Post Office. We purchased it at a public auction, spent several million dollars, produced a building which is an architectural triumph, which has won national awards and which will be in use long after I am gone and probably most people around today—again proving that architectural excellence, good materials, are an investment which we should be willing to make.

    Mr. Chairman, as a member of the Judicial Conference's Committee on Security, Space, and Facilities, I am aware of all the concerns expressed by this subcommittee and others about our space standards and the courthouse construction program, in general.

 Page 29       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Our committee is addressing all of the issues which have been raised. We are committed to working with you and with Mr. Peck's agency, the General Services Administration, to insure that courthouse construction costs are reduced wherever possible, while still maintaining what is our function—an efficient and effective judiciary.

    I would like to briefly summarize the three main areas of my prepared statement this morning: how the fiscal year 1997 projects follow the judiciary's prioritization of courthouse construction; the integration of cost-effective design strategies into the fiscal year 1997 projects; and the judiciary's comprehensive review of the U.S. Courts Design Guide.

    I ask that my full statement be included in the record.

    I understand that the subcommittee and the staff have been briefed on the prioritization process, the 5-year plan produced by the Judicial Conference at last month's session. A copy of the 5-year plan is attached to the back of my statement.

    As you look at the plan, you can see that our effort to group projects within a given year was based on guidance from GSA that approximately $500 million of its budget for Federal building projects would be available in each year for courthouses and courthouse construction.

    The President's 1997 budget request for GSA, which is before you, allocates a higher amount—$632.5 million to courthouse construction projects. It includes the five projects listed for fiscal year 1997 in our plan, plus eight projects listed for fiscal year 1998, and the project for Youngstown, Ohio, which Congress directed be included this year.
 Page 30       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    The projects which have been moved up by the Administration from 1998 to 1997 do follow the judiciary's prioritization and reflect what the judiciary would have done if we had anticipated that higher levels of funding might be considered.

    It is our understanding from the General Services Administration that projects which were skipped over in the fiscal year 1998 list are not ready to move forward at this time; thus, anything apparently out of sequence was done because the other projects were not ready.

    The prioritization process developed by the judiciary has been set up so that if Congress should approve all or some of the courthouse projects this year, which were originally slated for consideration in fiscal year 1998, the projects following would simply be shifted forward in the same order, if they are ready to go.

    We anticipate revising the 5-year plan every year to reflect Congressional decisions, as well as any new information gathered from regular updating of the long-range plans for each judicial district.

    I would like to comment now on the fiscal year 1997 courthouse projects pending before you and how they incorporate some of the design ideas which have been suggested by the subcommittee and others.

    The new addition to the Brooklyn courthouse will integrate collegial floors and courtroom stacking and includes the potential to share chambers library collections, and secretarial spaces in chambers.
 Page 31       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    In Cleveland, Ohio, the court of appeals judges will be sharing library collections.

    Although neither Seattle, Washington, nor Washington, D.C., have begun design, the Seattle court plans some courtroom sharing by senior and magistrate judges, collegial floors, and shared conference rooms. Washington, D.C., anticipates senior judges sharing courtrooms.

    In Las Vegas no decisions have been reached about the design at this time, but savings will be realized by donation of an acceptable site.

    For the other pending 1997 projects before you it is simply too early to tell what cost-saving measures will be incorporated, because design of the projects is just beginning.

    I also want to speak to the judiciary's comprehensive review of the United States Courts Design Guide.

    The responses from the GSA and the private sector to our Design Guide surveys are in. Generally, these comments are positive and report that users found the guide to be very helpful, but we are currently evaluating the responses to determine where appropriate savings could be realized.

    We are also addressing the concerns which you and others on the committee have raised and asked the leaders of other Congressional committees with oversight responsibility for their input. We have asked for recommendations from the Conference Committees on Automation and Technology, and on Court Administration and Case Management. We anticipate having the majority of our recommendations ready for the Judicial Conference's consideration at the March 1997, session.
 Page 32       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    We are committed to completing the Design Guide review. It is not only something that we have promised you we would do, but it is also something that the Judicial Conference directed that we do.

    We will have to provide numerous materials and options for Conference consideration. We know of your interest in this process and our progress, and we would be pleased to provide periodic status reports to the subcommittee. We will also keep you advised of any deviations from existing or future design standards that may be approved.

    Mr. Chairman, we believe that in the past few years the judiciary has developed a reasonable, well-though-out program to determine where our most critical needs are and to establish reasonable space standards. We realize that there are still improvements that we can make in the process. We hope that by all of us working together, we will look back in 10 or 20 or 30 years and be satisfied that our joint efforts today produced public buildings that will serve future generations as well as the Capitol Building has served our country since it was constructed.

    With your permission, Mr. Chairman, I would like to make a few brief personal observations which arise from my own experience.

    When I came to the district court in New Hampshire in 1990, as I said, I had spent 34 years in the private sector with the same law firm—a somewhat unusual occurrence today. It was evident to me and to everyone there that the Concord Building was totally inadequate for what we were doing. It had been built in the late 1960s, a post-modern building, with a few courtrooms thrown on as an afterthought. It was a security nightmare. We had outgrown it in every respect.
 Page 33       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Due to help from the General Services Administration, we were able to make some temporary improvements which have allowed us to operate in that courthouse until our new courthouse will be available next year.

    When we began the process, we started with a clean sheet of paper. I was going to be the chief judge of the court at the time. We had, at that time, two judges—one senior and one active judge—both active in case loads, but both with the second intending to become senior within in a year or 2 after I came on the bench.

    Because of my experience with construction, they delegated to me the general responsibility for the design of our building.

    I decided early on that we should have a shared library for the courthouse, a collegial floor, and courtrooms on a separate floor where the courts could be assigned to the size of the case, not necessarily to a particular judge at a particular time.

    The court Design Guide did not provide for that kind of configuration at that time.

    I went to the General Services Administration, I went to the Administrative Office of the Court with our architect, John Paul Carlian, a magnificent architect who designed the Sackler here in Washington. I think Mr. Peck is aware of his work.

    We persuaded the General Services Administration and the AO that our project should be allowed to go forward with the configuration which we desired.
 Page 34       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    I hope it is going to work well. It is, in a sense, an experiment because we only have, I think, one other courthouse in the country which is designed similarly at this point, although there are others which are now going to be designed in a similar way.

    If the guide had been a mandate, our ability to make that change would have been severely compromised.

    I think that allowing flexibility will permit the committee and the court, Congress generally, and the General Services Administration to come up with more effective utilization than we would otherwise have if we turn the guidebook into tablets of stone. It don't think that's necessarily the approach we should take.

    The other issue I'd like to speak to briefly is the issue of courtroom sharing—again, personal observation. When I arrived in Concord we had two courtrooms, we had three judges, and we had a long caseload. I had been there two weeks and I received a letter from the Administrative Office of the Court asking me why my docket was so old. I wrote back and said, ''I've only been here two weeks.''

    The problem was we didn't have facilities. We could not get cases scheduled properly. We made do, and we still make do.

    A courtroom is a judge's tool of the trade. The fact that it may be empty on a given morning does not mean that it's availability was not important.

 Page 35       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Cases do not get settled unless judges can set realistic dates for hearing—dates the parties believe will occur and that they will have to be prepared to go forward. That is a given fact.

    When you set up a docket, as Federal judges do, because their dockets are their own, you prioritize your cases. Many times cases would settle as a result of trial dates being available.

    I think that the courtroom issue, the sharing issue, is a very, very difficult one, and I think it should be approached very cautiously.

    I do not think it was effective for us in New Hampshire. We have made do, but it has not been easy.

    It also uses an enormous amount of staff time in order to get the scheduling done, and many times we cannot bring cases in when other cases have folded because of settlement, pleas, and the like.

    Thus, I do believe that this is an issue which we are studying. It does need study, but I have had experience with it, and I did not believe it was successful.

    That concludes my statement. There are members of the staff here who, as with the General Services Administration, know far more about individual projects than I do, but I'm pleased to answer any questions that you or the staff may have.

 Page 36       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Mr. GILCHREST. Thank you, Judge Stahl.

    We do have a series—we have actually pages of questions.

    Judge STAHL. That's fine.

    Mr. GILCHREST. Given time constraints, what we will do—and I would like to follow up on this—is to submit these questions into the record, but also probably can give a copy of the questions to you this morning before you leave and we can further this discussion—sort of get a jump start on the 1997 projects, as opposed to not quite getting a jump start on the 1996 projects.

    I don't think we ever really intended to create a concrete design guide without any flexibility. We were sort of walking through this—at least I was in the beginning—somewhat in the dark to figure out the best way to achieve the ends of fiscal restraints which are placed upon us—that is a reality—and allowing the judicial branch of government to do its job.

    So the design guide certainly will remain in a cooperative atmosphere, flexible enough to meet, for example, the specific need that you described, which was probably much better than what could have been designed in Washington, D.C., as a standard for all courthouses.

    There is certainly enough diversity in this country that we should allow it to flower.
 Page 37       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    The shared courtrooms—could you address, Judge Stahl, the possible difference between shared courtrooms in your courthouse, which—you said there are three judges, two courtrooms?

    Judge STAHL. There are currently three active judges now. There is one active senior judge. We have four judges, a magistrate. What we have is two more or less standard-sized courtrooms—a little smaller, I think, than the current standard. We have one very small magistrate's hearing room, and we have a courtroom which was in-fill that the GSA built in order to keep us going, which is quite small and can only handle very, very small cases.

    Mr. GILCHREST. In the new courthouse, how many courtrooms will there be?

    Judge STAHL. We will have in the new courthouse—because, again, it was designed to a projected 20-to 30-year life span, we have five district courtrooms, we have two magistrate courtrooms.

    Mr. GILCHREST. When you say ''20-to 30-year life span,'' what does that mean? Does that mean—

    Judge STAHL. What that meant was that I sat down with our clerk of court, with the people from the AO, with the General Services Administration people at the time. We projected growth. From 1789 to 1978, we had one district judge serving the district of New Hampshire. I was the twelfth person to serve as a district judge in New Hampshire. Since 1978, we have grown to a three-judge court with one active senior, all quite busy.
 Page 38       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    The State has had enormous growth since I was born there, and when I came back to New Hampshire to practice, I think, it was maybe 500,000 people. It's well over a million today. The growth continues, although it slowed down in the late 1980s, but it is picking up again.

    As Congress changes our jurisdiction, as crime grows, civil litigation grows, I would expect that these courtrooms will become necessary and will be used in a relatively reasonable period of time.

    That's how we projected it.

    Mr. GILCHREST. I guess I—now, is the courthouse being built understanding that it can accommodate increasing growth for the next 20 or 30 years with some thought to expanding that so a whole new courthouse doesn't have to be built?

    Judge STAHL. We built it, I think, in a way that, at least from the perspective of how I saw it and the architect saw it then, that yes, we could do that. It's an annex to the old building, which will be rehabilitated and has two courtrooms in it, plus a third which we will use as a grand jury room. We're going to leave the grand jury in the old building and the United States attorney will be in the old building. The bankruptcy court will move to our courtrooms on the top floor, and the existing chambers and the clerk offices. So that's all part of the utilization plan.

    But down the road, if there is an enormous growth, our thought was that we could move back into the Cleveland Building, which is connected, and put the bankruptcy court somewhere else if we had to.
 Page 39       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Mr. GILCHREST. So you could see that the existing structure and the new courthouse could accommodate 50 years, 60 years?

    Judge STAHL. That is my anticipation. I think that we planned well. I think that we thought it through. We did the best we could.

    You know, projections are very difficult. When I was a lawyer we owned three buildings. I thought each one was going to be wonderful for my lifetime. When we built the Post Office, we didn't touch the bottom floor except for a very small area. This year they gutted it all and they used every last bit of it. Now they're beginning to think about what to do next, and that's only 10 years.

    Mr. GILCHREST. I know projections are difficult. I thought when my children were just beginning to walk that by now they'd be Harvard graduates, and that hasn't come to fruition—yet.


    Mr. GILCHREST. I would hope that the new governor of New Hampshire has some sensitivity to managing the growth of that State so it doesn't become urban sprawl.

    Judge STAHL. We have tried, and it is very, very difficult. I don't know the answer to that. I spent some time on those problems, and it is difficult.
 Page 40       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Mr. GILCHREST. I think it's zoning.

    I have another—a quick question, and one for Mr. Peck. I wish I had a little bit more time to stay here, because this—I think we're learning a lot.

    One other question about shared courtrooms, and I know the difficulty—I would assume the difficulty of sharing courtrooms in a courthouse that is relatively small. Would you have a comment on sharing courtrooms in a building such as Foley Square?

    Judge STAHL. That's one of the issues under study. There may be a difference in large courthouses where you can, because of people being away, vacation—where the scheduling may work differently. I have absolutely no personal experience on it. I can only talk to what I know about, and that's Concord. I can tell you we used State courthouses on occasion when we were stuck.

    We built a mock-up out of plywood so that we could see how our new courtroom was going to work. One day we used that.


    Judge STAHL. So we made do.

    Mr. GILCHREST. Is that still standing?
 Page 41       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Judge STAHL. It's still standing, and it's used. As a matter of fact, Andrea Lears, who is a fine architect who's done Federal work, came through the other day and looked at the bench which we have designed for the new courthouse, and she thought it was quite well-done.

    Mr. GILCHREST. Was that real plywood or pressboard?

    Judge STAHL. Well, it's what we would call Grade C—rough on both sides.

    Mr. GILCHREST. Sturdy, though?

    Judge STAHL. Sturdy.

    Mr. GILCHREST. I would imagine you painted it, though.

    Judge STAHL. No, we didn't.

    Mr. GILCHREST. You didn't?

    Judge STAHL. We're New Hampshire folk, and we don't spend our money in that fashion.

    Mr. GILCHREST. I guess you don't have too many house painters up there.
 Page 42       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Judge STAHL. Well, some.

    Mr. GILCHREST. Thank you.

    Mr. PECK. We'll come to you next year for some wood treatment.

    Judge STAHL. Right.

    Mr. GILCHREST. My brother's a carpenter, and he's looking for work.


    Mr. GILCHREST. Thank you very much, Judge Stahl. I appreciate your visit and your attention to the details and your testimony. It has been very helpful to us.

    Judge STAHL. I appreciate the opportunity to have been here this morning.

    Mr. GILCHREST. Thank you.

    Mr. Peck, we have a whole series of questions about renovations and things of that nature. I'll just ask you one, because I think we can probably communicate just as easily over the phone.
 Page 43       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    The $100 million for CFC removal or replacement, does that represent all Federal buildings, public buildings? How long will it take to replace the CFCs? That $100 million will be over what time frame?

    Mr. PECK. I'm going to punt on this one, except to tell you that the $100 million is spread throughout the country, but it is only a part of a very much larger program.

    Mr. GILCHREST. To replace CFCs?

    Mr. PECK. To replace CFCs. The total program cost is about $731 million, and so this is an installment payment.

    On this program we've gone through some funding, a recision, and now we're back to funding again.

    Mr. GILCHREST. I see.

    Mr. PECK. Let me ask Ms. Huber if she wants to comment.

    Ms. HUBER. Yes. The total program cost is estimated at being, as Mr. Peck said, approximately $700 million. In 1995 we received $90 million, and then $33 million of that was rescinded. So what we have on the plate as of 1995 was $56 million. We got an additional $43 million in 1996.
 Page 44       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    It is our intention to ask for this money in $100 million increments each year and for Congress to appropriate whatever they can until we can get this program fully funded.

    We expect that it's probably going to take another 5 to 7 years.

    Mr. GILCHREST. To complete the entire project?

    Ms. HUBER. To complete the entire replacement program. That's correct, sir.

    Mr. GILCHREST. What is it being replaced with, the CFCs?

    Ms. HUBER. Materials that don't damage the environment.

    Mr. PECK. In fact, there are two points I should make. One is that this is in response to the Clean Air Act amendments of 1990, and so we are required, as are private sector building owners, to try to undertake this.

    The good news is that this program and the law, itself, have sparked a boom in the chemical and manufacturing industries, and there are a lot of people—some of whom I just met with yesterday morning—who are working on various technologies that can help you do this.

    This is obviously an estimate. I have some hope that, as people come up with better ways to do this, that some of the cost will come down.
 Page 45       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    The bottom line is that you have to replace some of the chemicals you use in air conditioners and you have to replace some of the machinery, as well.

    Mr. GILCHREST. I think it's a positive thing to do—positive program—and I'll encourage—I'll be one of the ones up here that will encourage that those appropriations not be rescinded or reduced so we can get about completing that particular task.

    I would also like to thank you, Mr. Peck, for your ongoing relentless effort in this complex world of public buildings. We appreciate your testimony this morning.

    I would like to walk through some of the buildings, not as a rhetorical critic, but as one that wants to learn a little bit more about the renovations to the buildings here in Washington. And I would like to, some time in the near future, since GSA come before this committee very often, take a visit to GSA and see what your building looks like.

    Mr. PECK. We would like that. We haven't had the guts to present a significant repair and alteration prospectus for our building, but it could use it. We would love to have you.

    There are, as you say, a number of projects that we would like to take you through in this area, and some new construction, too. We have at least two new courthouses in this region which are worth taking a look at, and some other buildings, as well, obviously.

 Page 46       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Mr. GILCHREST. We'll take some time when we're not here in D.C. and I'm not trying to retort my opponent about how terrible a person I am. We'll take a couple of days aside.

    I would also like to come to New Hampshire to visit the courthouse.

    Judge STAHL. I'd love you to come to see it, because I think it's a courthouse that you would like. It is a traditional courthouse. It has a central circulating stair. We want people to walk. It is really laid out very beautifully inside. It's a tribute to fine design, and that's where the great architects earn their keep.

    Mr. GILCHREST. Judge, thank you very much.

    Judge STAHL. Thank you.

    Mr. GILCHREST. Mr. Peck, thank you.

    Mr. PECK. Thank you.

    [Whereupon, at 11:15 a.m., the subcommittee was adjourned, to reconvene at the call of the Chair.]

    [Insert here.]