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GSA/USDA Project Saves Taxpayers More Than $1.5M Annually

GSA Administrator Emily Murphy and the Honorable William Northey

The Rocky Mountain Region hosted a ceremony in Salt Lake City on April 24 to formally recognize the consolidation of two U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) agencies into newly modernized office spaces within the Wallace F. Bennett Federal Building.
The Honorable Bill Northey, Under Secretary for Farm Production and Conservation at USDA, and GSA Administrator Emily Murphy were on hand to provide remarks at the ceremony and tour the new facilities for the Forest Service Geospatial Technology Application Center (FS GTAC) and the Farm Service Administration’s Aerial Photography Field Office (FSA APFO). 

The collaborative partnership between Region 8 and USDA not only saw reduction of office space by more than 50 percent but highlighted GSA’s new push to identify opportunities for the federal government to realize significant taxpayer and agency savings through lease cost avoidance. In this case, the savings will be about $1.5 million per year.

“This project tops the list as an example of saving money for our customer agencies so they can invest it towards their core mission,” said GSA Administrator Emily Murphy. “The collaboration with USDA and the use of innovative solutions will save $1.5 million, almost double our initial cost

The photo file room for USDA in Salt Lake City.

savings goal.”

A key component of GSA’s lease cost avoidance plan is back filling empty federal space, in this case several floors in the Bennett Federal Building.  One of the innovative solutions involved the complex relocating of an extensive film archive consisting of 70,000 rolls of film and 10 million images.

The solution was the construction of a climate controlled storage facility to keep the film archive at a constant 35 degrees and regulated at 30 percent humidity. 

Another solution GSA provided APFO to reduce their film storage requirement was an additional nine months of design time enabling the agency to purchase 11 more high resolution scanners, for a total of 13, to condense the digitization time of their film archive from 20 years to just five. 

“As a result of the renovation and moving into the federal building, all the film-based images will be converted to high resolution digital products reducing the amount of storage that is required,” said Under Secretary Northey.  “This will increase the accessibility and security of information going forward.”

Their decision to shift their business from film storage to film scanning has set them up to be the only federal agency with this type of high resolution film scanning.  

Newly renovated space for USDA in the Bennett Federal Building.

The Bennett Federal Building has 26 tenant agencies and more than 600 employees in the building.  For more information on the Bennett Federal Building go to