Because the building is on the historical registry, sensitivity to the architecture is once again critical. For instance, speakers for the fire alarm system must be hidden in the entry’s minimalist grand lobby, according to Linda Grabert, project manager for GSA.

Because many sensitive court cases take place there, such as the most recent trial of former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, tight security is employed. Construction workers must clear a security check with the Dept. of Homeland Security, enter through a separate guarded entrance and carry badges equipped with a homing device that tracks their arrival and departure.

The building is nearly fully occupied, and so floor 10 is designated as swing space with four courtrooms. Judges from one floor move into the space for 10 weeks while their space is renovated. This process continues throughout the building.

Richard Bolling Federal Building

This 18-story downtown Kansas City, Mo., building houses 3,000 federal employees. Built in 1965 at a time when energy was cheap and asbestos was extensively used for fireproofing, the 1.2-million-sq-ft building is undergoing a floor-by-floor modernization.

About $104 million in Recovery Act funds is going toward completing a $250 million, four-phase renovation that began in 2000 and is expected to be complete in 2014.

In the late 90s, an agency left the building, opening up 20% of the building’s space, which “provided us an opportunity to use the floors as construction space, staging space and isolate our work from the other floors,” says Donald Distler, project manager for GSA. “We started at the top of building, remodeling four floors at a time, and came down through the building.”

More than 80 tenant moves took place to accommodate the work.

“The total renovation of the building was driven by removing hazardous materials, including asbestos, which required removing about 99% of everything on a floor and starting with a barebones building,” Distler says. “Everything is rebuilt within the building.”

The project also included reconfiguring the elevator lobbies for exiting to a large, light-filled space and making restrooms handicap accessible.

The Kansas City, Mo.-based project team members, which remained the same since the project’s inception, include Helix Architecture + Design, Gastinger Walker Hardin Architects and JE Dunn Construction, general contractor for the first three phases and construction manager as constructor for the final phase.

Jefferson City courthouse

Construction of the $71-million new federal courthouse in Jefferson City, Mo., is going up on former prison property.

The four-story, 118,300-sq-ft, classically designed foursquare structure will open next year and will hold four courtrooms and offices for court-related agencies.

“There’s a green roof with two small terraces on the north side overlooking the Missouri River,” says George Gourse, project manager for GSA. It also will overlook the State Capitol building.

JE Dunn Construction came on board as CM as constructor at the same time as the architect, Boston-based Kallmann McKinnell & Wood Architects, which helped preserve design intent while incorporating budget conscience design decisions.

“To save money, instead of having traditional handset stone on the exterior of the building, we’ve taken limestone and laminated it to precast, and we have the entire panel lifted into place,” says Chris Paris, project manager for JE Dunn. “It provides the look of hand-cut stone but at same time it provides blast protection.”