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Making a Difference

WHS Oversees First Ever Renovation of DoD Headquarters

A picture of construction workers on scaffolding

As a national historic landmark and the largest low-rise office building in the world, the Pentagon has always needed to operate as a multi-functional, secure facility. Yet with no prior refurbishing after 50 years, the breadth of necessary repairs during the 1990s across its 6.5 million square feet of floor space necessitated action. The Pentagon Renovation (PENREN) project, an extensive endeavor that lasted nearly two decades, presented an enormous undertaking for WHS and its partners.

Charged with maintaining the administrative and operational facets of the Pentagon Reservation, WHS provided a diverse team of experts to meet the challenge of the renovation project. While covering the full scope of project objectives, WHS ensured that the 23,000 personnel at the U.S. Defense headquarters were able to successfully execute the Department mission uninterrupted during renovation activities.

The renovation plan was in the works by 1991 and officially began in 1993. In addition to new construction projects and the complete renovation of broken and outdated facilities, a goal throughout the project included updating the entire technology infrastructure to accommodate both modern demands and future expansion for 50 years. Another priority was to create an overall positive environment for the Defense Department workforce. To address this need, WHS incorporated natural light, an airy, open concourse, and a variety of dining options.

PENREN also included the Phoenix Project, a unique reconstruction project to repair the destroyed wedge and rebuild 400,000 square feet to historical specifications within one year of the loss and damage on September 11, 2001. Moreover, the renovation was originally projected to wrap up by 2014, yet a Congressional mandate in the aftermath of the attacks accelerated construction for completion in 2011. WHS helped the Department meet these challenges and milestones head-on.

Throughout the duration of PENREN, WHS’ problem-solving approach led to the implementation of building features to improve the security of the Pentagon, allow for quicker egress, and protect against threats. In addition to safety concerns, WHS felt strongly about applying sustainable practices. This meant maximizing energy efficiency and recycled resources, minimizing waste, and enhancing indoor environmental quality for improved employee health. By its completion, the Pentagon achieved Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certifications from the U.S. Green Building Council for 4 of 5 wedges and a number of newly-created facilities, including the Pentagon Athletic Center, the Pentagon Library and Conference Center, the Metro Entrance Facility, and the Remote Delivery Facility.

In no easy feat, WHS essentially took the building apart and put it back together while providing constant, unwavering support to the DoD mission. Built to endure, the Pentagon stands solid today as a symbol of our Nation and the headquarters of the US Armed Services.

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