The remodeling of the Voice of America's Washington studios has proved to be as controversial as any part of the VOA's $1.3 billion modernization.
A major milestone occurred Aug. 16, when the 1950-vintage master control room at 300 Independence Ave. SW through which the VOA's programs have been beamed for 32 years ceased operations. VOA began sending its programs, aired in 44 languages, through a new $956,015 computerized control room.
Only three of the VOA's 34 adjoining broadcast studios have been remodeled under the program, a VOA spokeswoman said. Nineteen of the oldest are to be remodeled at a cost of $7.9 million, she said. The work here should be completed by the end of 1988, she said.
The Washington project has been attacked repeatedly by representatives of the National Federation of Federal Employees Local 1418, which represents about 160 technicians at VOA. The union has charged that the renovation here has been poorly managed and that some equipment for the new master control room remained in storage for five years before construction began in 1986.
The VOA official said that some of the equipment was purchased in 1983 and was needed in 1986 when the master control remodeling began.