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A look inside the White House Situation Room's $50 million renovation

The White House Situation Room now has enhanced security, new technology, mahogany finishes from Maryland and stonework from Virginia.
A look inside the White House Situation Room's $50 million renovation
Posted at 7:57 AM, Sep 08, 2023

The White House Situation Room just got its first makeover in 15 years, and it came with a hefty price tag.

The 5,500-square-foot, high-security complex of conference rooms and offices beneath the West Wing was completely stripped and revamped for $50 million.

The entire complex, where the U.S. president meets with national security officials for top-secret government discussions, communicates with foreign leaders and manages critical national security crises, has been refitted with enhanced security and technology.

According to Marc Gustafson, the Situation Room’s director, workers dug 5 feet underground, creating space and installing advanced technology for seamless intelligence integration at the White House, accessible with a few button presses.

"It’s a marriage of the traditional and the modern," Gustafson told the Associated Press of the new space. "Now we have all the capabilities." 

The more notable changes are in the John F. Kennedy conference room, commonly referred to as the "JFK room," where the walls are covered with new mahogany finishes from Maryland, LED lights with color-changing capability adorn the ceiling, and flat-screen panels are displayed on the walls. The room also got new navy-colored carpet.

There are also brand new seals for the president, vice president, national security adviser, and executive office of the president. These seals can be easily swapped out in the JFK room, depending on the speaker.

Gustafson says President Joe Biden's jaw dropped when he first got a tour Tuesday along with other White House officials.

"He loved it; he thought the update was fantastic," Gustafson said.

The whole project took a year to complete, and right now only 60% of the staff is back to work in the complex.

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