White House staffers in the West Wing moved to new quarters on Monday to make way for an upgrade of the West Wing’s heating and air conditioning.
President Donald Trump took off for his residence in Bedminster, New Jersey, on Friday as the long-anticipated construction began.
The heating, ventilation, and air conditioning needed to be replaced, leaving the West Wing temporarily without air conditioning.
The West Wing lower lobby and the Navy Mess kitchen, a small dining facility run by the Navy in the West Wing basement—which is available only to senior White House officials, Cabinet secretaries, and their guests—are also being renovated, CBS reported.
The General Services Administration, a government agency that oversees the construction, renovation, and preservation of government buildings, said in a 2011 fact sheet on the renovations that the Chemical Biological Radiological (CBR) systems, emergency power and lighting, and IT systems also needed to be upgraded.
In addition, it said mechanical and electrical rooms would be added to “support the new services.”
The fact sheet says the repairs were slated to be done by fiscal year 2016, but the GSA didn’t deliver a plan for carrying it out till the spring of 2016, the New York Times reported.
Built in 1902, the West Wing is where the Oval Office, the Cabinet Room, and the Situation Room are located and serves as the day-to-day office of the president. It is roughly 30,000 gross square feet and includes offices for senior members of the executive office of the president and their support staff.
West Wing staff will be relocated to the Eisenhower Executive Office Building next door for at least two weeks, CBS reported.
The South Portico steps will also get a much-needed upgrade; The last time they were redone was 65 years ago under President Harry Truman.