We are pleased to report that on February 14, 2014, the DCF turned over $17.5 million to the Gift Funds of the U. S. Department of State to clear the way for General Services Administrative (GSA) to negotiate the final construction contract for building the Pavilion of the USDC where the Welcome Desk sponsored by Intel Corporation will be located. Other monies raised and parked in the Gift Fund at State were also put toward the construction contract.
There were a few situations, including the government shutdown, which caused the delay in the USDC construction negotiations. Four construction companies agreed to extend their bids through March 31, 2014, and GSA negotiated immediately with these construction companies to get best and final bid with one company.
Negotiations went well and GSA signed a $25 million contract with a Gilbane Construction Company on April 30 to build the Pavilion of the USDC. A notice to proceed was issued. The press release went out on May 1, 2014, and is found here: http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2014/05/225492.htm
We understand the building program for the Pavilion, which contains Hall I America in the World, will take approximately two years to complete. The exhibit development and designs will be finalized. We understand the exhibits fabrication and installation are within the two-year schedule mentioned above. At this time, we believe the Pavilion will be open in 2016.
On Wednesday, September 3, 2014, the Department of State and the Diplomacy Center Foundation held official groundbreaking events for the USDC both in the George C. Marshall, Auditorium and on the actual USDC site, just outside the Department of State at the 21st Street Entrance. There was a reception before the program for the guests. Five former Secretaries of State, including Henry A. Kissinger, James A. Baker, III, Madeleine K. Albright, and Hillary Rodham Clinton, along with Secretary of State John Kerry gave remarks. Under Secretary for Management Pat Kennedy was the Master of Ceremonies. Ambassador Elizabeth F. Bagley, Senior Advisor to the Secretary for Special Initiatives, addressed the 250 guests and graciously thanked the many donors. Former Career Foreign Service Officer and Ambassador to five nations, William C. Harrop, and who also serves as Chairman of the DCF, was also on the stage with the honored guests.
After the remarks, the guests were directed to the USDC's Pavilion site for the official turning of the shovels, dubbed "Shovel Diplomacy" by the Wall Street Journal. See the photo of the six Secretaries. A link to the remarks at the ceremony is: http://www.state.gov/secretary/remarks/2014/09/231318.htm
Later that early evening, former Ambassador Stuart A. Bernstein and his wife Wilma Bernstein hosted a lovely reception in their home so everyone could gather to celebrate the benchmark occasion. Guests included many donors and stakeholders to the project, the lead architect of the Center Hany Hassan, DCF Board Members, Advisory Council Members, and both U. S. Department of State representatives and senior staff of the USDC.