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GAO Report: Excess Space Built For Judicial Facilities

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Federal courthouses built in the recent construction push appear to have been overbuilt, according to a study by the U.S. Government Accountability Office in May 25 testimony before the House public buildings subcommittee. While the report’s conclusions are preliminary because it has not yet been reviewed by the federal judiciary and the U.S. General Services Administration, GAO says that the 33 federal courthouses completed since 2000 include 28%, or 3.56 million sq ft of excess space, which cost $835 million to build and $51 million in operating costs based on 2010 dollars. The excess was due to building over congressionally authorized size limits and insufficient GSA oversight, overestimating numbers of judicial occupants and lack of planning for space-sharing, says the report. It is set to be released officially this month.

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