The Reagan administration is proposing a construction program of more than $2 billion in the Washington area over the next five years that would move more than 35,000 federal employes into new or renovated federal office buildings.
A draft of the 1983-1987 federal capital budget prepared by the National Capital Planning Commission outlines more than 180 building projects. While many have been in the planning stages for several years, a number are being expedited and dozens of new projects are being proposed for the first time, including about $225 million in construction at area military bases and close to $400 million in new civilian construction.
Among the major federal projects proposed are a new Government Printing Office, $235 million; a new government office complex in the Federal Triangle, announced last week by GSA, $350 million; a long-planned new headquarters laboratory for the Food and Drug Administration in Beltsville, $213 million; an on-again, off-again new headquarters for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission in Silver Spring, $138 million; and a new headquarters for the Bureau of Labor Statistics at 2d and E Streets NW, $120 million.
The budget is essentially a planning document compiled by the NCPC to provide advance information about government building plans in the Washington area. Construction of any of the projects on it would require approval and funding by Congress as well as separate design approval from the commission.
Congress has approved only about two-thirds of the projects carried in previous federal capital budgets.
The new budget mentions three major proposed projects whose cost is not included in the $2 billion projection.
The major expansion of the Central Intelligence Agency headquarters in McLean, announced last fall, has no listed price tag. Agency officials have indicated only that it will cost in excess of $100 million, and will bring together 3,000 CIA employes who are now scattered in other offices.
The U.S. Postal Service is proposing to move the 4,500 employes of the Washington Post Office from the turn-of-the century Greek-style building next to Union Station into a new $114 million structure. It also plans some two dozen smaller regional projects, which would cost $98 million and are included in the budget.
And the Navy is studying a $280 million renovation of the Washington Navy Yard, where former gun factory buildings would be converted to offices for 18,000 employes who have worked since 1970 in leased buildings in Rosslyn and Crystal City.
The budget constitutes an administration wish list that would go a long way toward bringing federal employes back into government buildings.
The Federal Triangle project would house about 5,000 federal employes, while the FDA headquarters would bring more than 1,600 workers to Beltsville. The new NRC headquarters would house 3,400 employes now working in Bethesda and the District, while 2,200 workers would move into the BLS headquarters.
Most of the 35,000 employes who would be moved now work in leased offices in privately owned buildings. The government spends more than $200 million a year to rent office space for more than 50 percent of the area's 420,000 military and civilian government workers.
Half of the projects included in the new federal capital budget are at area Army, Navy and Air Force bases. Much of the new military building appears to be improvements in housing, administration buildings, commissaries, mess halls, gymnasiums, religious centers and utility systems.
Almost all of the proposed construction is to take place on land already owned by the government, with the only additional federal land purchases in the region being for the possible NRC headquarters in Silver Spring and a number of new post office buildings.
The capital budget recommends further study on $29 million proposed by the Army projects for 340 family housing units at Fort Belvoir, and it suggests 13 construction projects the federal planning agency feels its sister agencies should build but which so far are not planned.
The commission is recommending that the federal government buy additional land around Dulles to provide for post-1995 expansion and complete plans for major federal employment centers in Southeast Washington and Suitland.
It suggests that the government landscape both Constitution and Independence Avenues and develop the New York Avenue entrance to the National Arboretum, now marred by a dilapidated brickyard.
The budget notes, without comment, that 20 projects given high priority by federal agencies in last year's budget are no longer proposed. They include more than $50 million in improvements to office buildings, $50 million in development projects on military bases and a number of small projects such as $500,000 to landscape National Airport.