About 150 to 175 employees could move into commercial office space while the U.S. General Services Administration removes asbestos-containing insulation from the Federal Building in Oak Ridge.
The GSA posted a notice last week on FedBizOpps.gov that it wants to lease about 30,000 square feet of temporary space in Oak Ridge, potentially for up to six months, with a second six-month term possible. Leasing proposals were due by Tuesday.
Officials said they are moving quickly to find space for employees displaced after a mid-June inspection found asbestos-containing insulation had fallen into heating and cooling ducts at the Federal Building.
“We’re trying to get them some more permanency,” GSA Supervisory Property Manager Johnathan Sitzlar said Thursday, referring to the roughly 350 employees who work in the Federal Building. However, all those employees would not move into the leased space, which could be occupied as early as Monday, the GSA posting said.
The Federal Building in Oak Ridge is leased by the U.S. Department of Energy, and the workers include about 200 federal employees as well as support service contractors and staff members for U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann.
Sitzlar said federal officials have already done a commercial analysis and looked at some local properties.
Sitzlar said he wasn’t sure how many commercial landlords responded to the leasing offer. He said the submissions are being evaluated in a GSA office in Atlanta with comments from DOE.
Sitzlar said federal officials still haven’t determined how long it might take to repair the five-story 155,000-square-foot Federal Building. But federal officials are working with the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation to develop an approved abatement plan.
Employees displaced by the closure of the Federal Building have worked in the basement of that building, at Building 2714-G on Laboratory Road, at the Office of Scientific and Technical Information in east Oak Ridge, and in 1916-T2, a building near OSTI.