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Preserving Historic Federal Buildings

Posted May 15, 2003

What happens when national architectural treasures become tarnished? It takes more than just surface cleaning to keep historic federal structures shining. Led by its Center for Historic Buildings, GSA partners with other government agencies and the private sector in innovative ways to ensure the continued viability and preservation of its legacy architecture.

One example, the Federal Building and United States Courthouse in Providence, Rhode Island was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1972. This is one of more than 400 historic buildings under GSA’s stewardship, 223 of which are listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

The U.S. Courts, a tenant since the building’s dedication in 1908, preferred to remain in this venerable edifice. The courthouse needed upgrades to meet current workplace standards. The preservation work included space modernization and renovation of the four courtrooms and chambers, installation of state-of-the-art technology, and improvements to the security and fire alarm systems. Exterior and significant interior spaces were carefully restored. Rededicated on April 25, 2003, this gem of a building sparkles once again.

GSA recognized other successful preservation projects and initiatives happening across the country at its Public Buildings Service Heritage Awards Program.  The GSA Center for Historic Buildings hosted the 2003 Heritage Awards on Wednesday, April 30, 2003. The winning projects, selected by a jury of preservation and design professionals, demonstrate GSA’s commitment to fulfilling its stewardship goals. Awards were presented in five categories.

Completed Alterations and Upgrades
William J. Nealon Federal Building & U.S. Courthouse in Scranton, PA
Building Modernization Project
GSA Mid-Atlantic Region

Ariel Rios Federal Building in Washington, DC
Handicap Accessible Entrances
GSA National Capital Region

Adaptive Use
Twin Rivers Complex in Ogden, UT
Adaptive Use: 1900 Furniture Warehouse to Federal Office Space
GSA Rocky Mountain Region 

U.S. General Post Office in Washington, DC
Adaptive Use: 19th Century Post Office to Boutique Hotel
GSA National Capital Region

Conservation/Restoration
Owen B. Pickett U.S. Customhouse in Norfolk, VA
Interior and Exterior Restoration
GSA Mid-Atlantic Region

U.S. Courthouse in El Paso, TX
Terra Cotta Repair and Replacement
GSA Greater Southwest Region

U.S. General Post Office in Washington, DC
Restoration of Historic Features 
GSA National Capital Region

Federal Trade Commission in Washington, DC
Conservation of “Man Controlling Trade” Sculptures
GSA National Capital Region

Education, Outreach and Community Involvement
Denver Federal Center in Denver, CO
Denver Federal Center Museum
GSA Rocky Mountain Region

Historic Preservation Outreach Program
Website, Reference Guide, Note Cards and Desk Calendar
GSA Rocky Mountain Region

Square 457C in Washington, DC
Clara Barton Museum and Site Development
GSA National Capital Region

Honorable Mention
Film and Television Marketing Initiative
GSA Southeast Sunbelt Region

Stewardship Awards
Bill Matthews
Director, Office of Portfolio Management
GSA Central Office

Andrea Mones
Regional Historic Preservation Officer
GSA National Capital Region


Preserving Historic Federal Buildings