Proposed Addition to the Dental Health Center in San Francisco, California

Published by the Government Accountability Office on 1971-12-01.

Below is a raw (and likely hideous) rendition of the original report. (PDF)

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R+ [.f       Dear Mr. Mailliard:

                     On August 31, 1971, you requested our assistance                 in
             determining    whether further       delay in constructing          a proposed
             addition    to the Dental      Health“~*,~
                                 -e-‘“s”,“*“...r”     Center
                                                            -1.11 in San Francisco.     Cali-
             fornia,    was essential     and In the best interests           of the Gov-
             ernment .

         I           The Dental Health Center--a     facility
                                                     ___I_z_w-,.-of the National<     ?
             Institutes     of Health (NIH), Department of Health,         Education,
             and Welfare (HEW)--wasy?*ablished          in 1961 as a center for         -
             applied research and .tr”gikizg      in the dental health field.
             In fiscal~‘?‘!966,       $250,000 was appropriated        for planning
             of an addition     to the center,    and in fiscal    year 1968,
             $2,558,000 was appropriated       for construction     of the addition.

                   In July 1966 the General Services’Administration,     acting
             on behalf of NIH, awarded a contract     to Neil1 Smith and Asso-
             ciates for design of the add???“oFGhich was to be used for
             research and training    purposes.   The final  designs were com-
             pleted by the contractor     in November 1970.
      2-        NIH became aware in 1968 that the funds appropriated            for
     J construction     were no longer sufficient      and that an estimated
         additional   $628,000 would be needed.       In 1969 funds were re-
         programmed to meet the then-estimated        construction      cost of
     * $3,186,000.      The General Services Administration          informed NIH
         in March 1970 that the estimated      cost of construction,         based
         on starting   construction  in fiscal    year 1971, had again in-
         creased to $3,986,000.     According to NIH officials          these in-
         creases were caused primarily     by the escalation       of construc-
         tion costs.

                   NIH officials    said that they asked for $2.3 million                 in
             their  fiscal   year 1972 budget request,       prepared in 1970,            to
             cover (1) the $800,000 difference        between the March 1970              esti-
             mate of $3,986,000 and the available         funds of $3,186,000             and
             (2) $1.5 million    for built-in    equipment,, such as television
             equipment for training     purposes.     An additional   $1 million
             will be needed for non-built-in       equipment.



                                                   50’TH ANNIVERSARY1921- 1971

             NIH officials  told us that the Office   of Management and
     Budget (OMB) had deleted the $2.3 million       in preparing  the
     budget request submitted      to the Congress.   They said that OMB
     might have deleted the $2.3 million      because of an overlap in
     research functions     between two components of NIH, the National
     Institute    of Dental Research and the Division    of Dental Health.
     The Dental Health Center is, organizationally,        a part of the
     Division    of Dental Health.

           The overlap of research functions            was resolved as of Feb-
     ruary 1971 by phasing out the research responsibilities                 of
     the Division     of Dental Health.        NIH officials    have advised us
     that (1) the addition        to the Dental Health Center can now be
     constructed    within   the available       funds of $3.1 million      by re-
     designing    the building      to eliminate     the research facilities
     that were originally       included in the designs and (2) equip-
     ment funds in the amount of $2.5 million              will still  be needed
     for the facility.

            In July 1971 HEW requested OMB’s approval to (1) con-
     struct   the facility     to conform to the revised functions   it
     would serve and (2) include $1.5 million         in the fiscal year
     1973 budget for built-in       equipment.  According to NIH offi-
     cials a contract      for the design of the facility    will not be
     executed unless they obtain a favorable        response from OMB.
     At October 31, 1971, OMB had not responded to HEW.

            NIH is currently      working on a new set of requirements
     for the facility      from which the architectural       planning can
     be made. It will        take about 3 months to complete the set of
     requirements     before NIH will be in a position        to select a
     firm to redesign the facility          if and when OMB approves its
     July 1971 request.         It will  take about 9 months to redesign
     the building     and an additional       20 months for its construction.

            Although no funds for the addition            to the Dental Health
     Center were included in the fiscal           year 1972 budget request
c$./ submitted    to the Congress, the Senate Committee on Appropria-                “, * ’ A
     tions,    in its report dated July 29, 1971, on the HEW fiscal
     year 1972 appropriations       bill,    specifically      recommended that
     $1.5 million     be appropriated     for equipping the Dental Health


Center.  The $1.5 million,    however, was deleted       by the com-
mittee of conference   in its report dated August        5, 1971.

       It appears that the primary reason for the current       delay
in constructing   the facility   is due to the phaseout in Feb-
ruary 1971 of the research function      of the Division   .of Dental
Health.    This phaseout of the research function      caused a
need for the facility    to be redesigned    to exclude the research
areas provided for in the original      design work.

       Since it was decided to phase out the research function
of the Division     of Dental Health to avoid a duplication        of re-
search efforts     within   NIH, we see no basis for questioning
that decision.      In   addition, it appears appropriate      for HEW
to seek OMB approval before contracting         for the redesign of
the facility    since the facility    was originally   justified    on
the basis that it would provide both research and training

       As requested, the documents furnished   to us with your
letter   of August 31, 1971, are being returned   to your office
under separate cover.

      We plan to make no further      distribution    of this report
unless copies are specifically      requested,     and then we shall
make distribution    only after   your agreement has been obtained
or public announcement has been made by you concerning           the con-
tents of the report.     We trust   that these comments will       serve
the purpose of your inquiry.

                                   Sincerely   yours,

                                   Comptroller  General
                                   of the United States

The Honorable William S. Mailliard
House of Representatives