Update on New National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis
Press Release · Tuesday, October 26, 2010

St. Louis, MO

St. Louis, MO…The National Archives and Records Administration’s National Personnel Records Center (NPRC) will relocate more than 100 million records to a new $112 million modernized facility. Crews broke ground on the 474,000 square-foot facility on November 16, 2009. According to the St. Louis County Economic Council, the project is expected to pump $435 million into the local economy and involve more than 300 construction jobs. NARA will lease the facility for twenty years from The Molasky Group of Companies through the General Services Administration (GSA). Located in North St. Louis County, the facility will open its doors in May 2011, which is also when the workforce of 800 will start moving in. The entire move of personnel and records will take about seventeen months.

The new location will store approximately 2.3 million cubic feet of records currently housed at three different St. Louis area facilities. The building will be certified under the Leadership in Energy and Environment Design (LEED) program and will also be compliant with the stringent Federal standards for archival and non-archival records. Records will be housed in climate-controlled stack areas designed for long-term preservation. As well, archival storage bays will have particulate and ultraviolet filtration. Paint, sealants, caulking and the powder-coated finishes for the shelving will be certified for minimal off-gassing of volatile organic compounds. The facility will also offer new research rooms, meeting rooms equipped with the latest video-conferencing technology and tenant office space for other area Federal agencies.

Several move teams are working to ensure that each and every record is accounted for when moved and that NPRC’s important services to veterans continue with little delay. Many of the records are currently stored on 10-high shelving units in an old 1950s facility at 9700 Page Avenue in Overland, Missouri. This location was ravaged by a 1973 fire that was one of the worst in U.S. history. The fire destroyed the building’s sixth floor and an estimated 16 - 18 million individual military personnel records. The records lost include those of Army personnel discharged between November 1, 1912 and December 31, 1959, and Air Force personnel discharged between September 25, 1947 and December 31, 1963 with names alphabetically following Hubbard, James. Some records were salvaged from the disaster; these fire-damaged records have been stored in a climate-controlled area where specially trained preservation technicians treat the records for mold and delicately piece together whatever they can save. Despite the very fragile state of the burned records, preservationists have been able to retrieve valuable information in an effort to reconstruct portions of a service member’s personnel file. At the current Page facility the Preservation Branch also treats several thousand records that have been exposed to the harmful rays of the sun and to other contaminants that shorten a record’s life span. In the new building, all of the records will be housed in climate-controlled record storage bays.

NPRC is comprised of three organizational divisions: Civilian Records, Military Records and Archival Programs. Visiting researchers are encouraged to schedule an appointment prior to making a research visit. With headquarters in Washington, DC, the National Archives at St. Louis’ NPRC is one of 44 NARA facilities located throughout the United States. Unlike other collections, however, the records held in St. Louis impact nearly every family in the United States. These holdings represent a priceless piece of history and are a critical source of information for genealogists, family members, scholars, veterans and researchers in many fields of knowledge.

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