Smithsonian buildings need $2.3B of work

Repairs, improvements and revitalization of the Smithsonian Institution buildings will cost $2.3 billion, according to the draft of a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report due to be released today.  

The report praises the Smithsonian for successfully executing its mission to “the increase and diffusion of knowledge among men” but says that “facilities-related problems” have resulted in building closures and damage to some of the collections.

The GAO draft said the problems “range from major structural deterioration to chronic leaks” but are not extensive; however, if they were left unattended, they could cause serious risks to collections, the report said. The Smithsonian has requested about $2.3 billion through fiscal year 2013 that would cover the “currently identified” projects, the report said.

In addition, the GAO recommended that the secretary of the Smithsonian and other officials develop a “strategic funding plan” to address future needs. In the past, the Smithsonian Board of Regents has opposed charging admission to the museums to raise funds.

Jackie Kucinich