The US Air Force just spent $387,000 making the lobby outside a three-star general’s office look really nice.
The space right outside Air Force Academy Superintendent Lt. Gen. Michelle Johnson’s office now has new ceiling tiles, nicer chairs, and energy efficient lighting – which came at a bargain price of $261 per square foot, nearly 2.5 times more than the going rate for commercial renovation in the Colorado Springs area, according to BuildingJournal.com.
Yes, in case you couldn’t tell, that was sarcasm.
For right around that price in Colorado Springs, a person could purchase a beautiful home with 4 bedrooms, 2.5 baths, and a 2-car garage.
Business Insider was unable to find the original contract solicitation for the project on FedBizOpps, though the academy has been spending on a number of projects over the years. These include multi-year renovations on Mitchell Hall (the cadet dining facility), Vandenberg Hall (the dorms), and the cadet gym.
An Academy spokesman told The Gazette a cost breakdown for the foyer project could not be revealed because it would reveal “trade secrets” of the contractors involved. However, the spokesman said the cost was approved by a committee and the Pentagon.
The renovation was also justified, according to the spokesman, because the space “sees 800 or more distinguished visitors per year.”
The Air Force Academy did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Business Insider.
Top Air Force leadership complained that the service was “strained” by deep budget cuts caused by sequestration in Feb. 2015. “The choices will be more dire,” said Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James. “Very important systems would perhaps have to be shelved.”