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In 2001, the Census Bureau began planning and seeking support for a new headquarters building in Suitland, MD. The Suitland Federal Center headquarters located in Federal Office Building 3 (FOB-3), opened in 1942 and was showing its age. Leaking pipes and fan coils flooded hallways and offices.
Initially, the agency sought a single 800,000 square foot building with space for about half of the Census Bureau's employees. During the second phase another building would be constructed to house the remaining Census Bureau employees. Alternatively, the General Services Administration (GSA), which owns and leases all federal buildings, supported renovating FOB-3 during the second phase of construction.
By 2002, the Census Bureau's amended construction plans received congressional and GSA support. The amended plans called for a single new headquarters building that would house all of the agency's Suitland-based employees. No longer needing FOB-3, the GSA slated it and several other buildings on the Suitland Federal Center campus for demolition. The Census Bureau held a groundbreaking ceremony for the new building on September 16, 2003.
The Census Bureau's new headquarters building officially opened on August 7, 2006, when employees of the Geography Division, who had worked at a satellite facility in nearby Forestville, MD, moved into their office space. At that time, only half of the building was completed. As construction continued, more Census Bureau employees moved into their new office spaces on a weekly basis until April 2007.
The Census Bureau's new headquarters is a state-of-the-art workplace whose elegant and efficient design has received widespread praise. The building has won the GSA Design Excellence Award and has achieved a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design silver rating.