This Old Pentagon better than brand new

Tuesday - 6/28/2011, 10:08am EDT

Sajeel Ahmed, Director, Facilities Services Directorate, DoD

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By Suzanne Kubota
Senior Internet Editor
FederalNewsRadio.com

The Defense Department spent nearly $4 billion over the last two decades to replace every square foot of the Pentagon's interior. They tore it down and rebuilt it floor to ceiling, wedge by wedge.

Sajeel Ahmed, Director of the Facilities Services Directorate for DoD which oversaw the Pentagon Renovation Program, tells Federal News Radio the result is a building that is "more airy, more open," with more sunlight, and overall, a "better office environment" for the workforce.

The building boasts better technology, more security, and even better food services.

Ahmed said the original building was "mostly, it's well built, but" said they also found areas where "bricks were just laid on top of each other with no mortar in some cases." Overall, said Ahmed, it was well constructed for a building of its size and how quickly it was put together.

It took 18 months to build and 18 years to renovate, but Ahmed notes his work was on a fully occupied building running 24 hours a day, through the 9-11 attacks and two wars.

And then there was the surprise in one of the basements.

"I think one of the interesting things we found is car parts, for example..."

"Car parts?" asked anchor Amy Morris. "Right," said Ahmed. "Parts....valve block for a car, for a truck. So we found a couple of those things."

Ahmed said they left a surprise of their own in Wedge 1 when rebuilding after the 9-11 attack. "A time capsule in the 9-11area itself when we rebuilt...Wedge 1," said Ahmed.

The project is expected to extend the Pentagon's life by another 50 years.