Press Release
Press Release · Friday, May 22, 1998

Press Release
May 22, 1998
National Archives to Open New Underground Facility

WHAT: Ribbon-cutting ceremony to open the National Archives and Records Administration’s new 160,000 square foot Federal records center in Lee’s Summit, Missouri. The facility will house records from 100 Federal agencies from the New York/New Jersey area, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. It will also be the national repository for all new Department of Veterans Affairs records.

WHO: The following dignitaries will make remarks:

    John W. Carlin, Archivist of the United States
    Karen McCarthy, 5th District, Missouri U. S. Congresswoman
    Karen R. Messerli, Mayor, Lee's Summit, Missouri
    Katheryn J. Shields, County Executive, Jackson County, Missouri
    Glen W. Overton, Regional Administrator, General Services Administration
    WHEN:Monday, June 1, 1998, at 2:15 P.M.
    WHERE: National Archives and Records Administration
    Federal Records Center Facility
    5351 Lee's Summit Road
    Lee's Summit, MO

    Interview and photo opportunities: Following the ceremony, tours of the facility will be offered. The press is invited to attend and take photographs. The participants will be available for interviews, time permitting.

    Local press inquiries should be addressed to John Allshouse at (816) 478-7079.

    For additional PRESS information, please contact the National Archives Public Affairs staff at (301) 837-1700 or by e-mail.


    Introduction: The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) is our national recordkeeper. An independent Federal agency created in 1934, NARA is charged by the Congress to safeguard records of all three branches of the Federal government. Our mission is to assure Federal officials and the American public ready access to essential evidence--records that document the rights of citizens, the actions of government officials, and the national experience. NARA preserves and provides access to such records through a national network of archives and records centers stretching from Boston to San Bruno, from Atlanta to Anchorage. Included are Presidential libraries documenting the administrations of all our Presidents from Hoover and Roosevelt through George Bush.

    Goal: Ready access to essential evidence at a significant savings to the American public, with continued good service to our Federal clients.

    Description of the caves:

    • The National Archives and Records Administration’s new facility is 60 feet below the surface, in an excavated limestone mine that is believed to be more than 4 million years old. It has been completely retrofitted and custom built for commercial use. The modern innovative location provides inexpensive storage space, significant energy savings, and rapid expansion capabilities. The current size of the space is 160,000 square feet, with expansion possibilities under the current lease agreement.

    Working environment:

    • Twenty-five NARA employees will work in the new records center. In spite of the unconventional nature of the space, the office areas are bright and spacious, nestled next to 4 million-year old limestone columns, some weighing over a hundred tons.

    Storage environment:

    • The caves provide a stable environment to store materials due to a constant temperature range in the low 60's, with HVAC considerations minimal.


    • State-of-the-art perimeter security, with after-hour guard service.

    About the records:

    • Records capacity: When the move is complete in July 1998, there will be approximately 800,000 cubic feet of records from 100 Federal agencies in the New York/New Jersey area, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands stored in the caves. The caves will become the national repository for all new Department of Veterans Affairs records and will also house large holdings of the U.S. Customs Service, Federal Courts, the Immigration and Naturalization Service, and the Social Security Administration.

    Budget considerations:

    • The annual savings of storing the records in this new facility, as opposed to the Federal records center where they were previously stored, is estimated to be approximately $400,000 a year.

    Service of materials stored in the caves:

    • NARA anticipates receiving 100,000 requests a year on these materials, with a one-day turn around time for servicing them.


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