A nearly identical replica of the president's executive office is expected to be completed by summer.
CONFIRMED: Move to adjacent building would coincide with major renovations to West Wing
The build-out of the new "West Wing quarters" inside the Eisenhower Executive Office Building adjacent to the White House has begun, according to Real Clear Politics. The move is part of a large-scale $376 million renovation to the White House that began in September 2010.
The West Wing phase of the renovation was put on hold during last year's election and still faces construction hurdles because of considerable disruption involved in transitioning President Barack Obama and his senior advisers out of the West Wing quarters in the White House.
Obama and his staff would work out of the stand-in Oval Office for up to two years, RCP reported. The president has described the Oval Office as a "surprisingly comfortable" place to get real work done.
Last fall, construction was completed on a multistory underground structure in front of the West Wing. The General Services Administration, which oversaw the work, and the Obama administration have not elaborated on the structure's function, the Huffington Post reported in September.
Could it be an updated bomb shelter? The existing White House bunker, known as the Presidential Emergency Operations Center, lies beneath the East Wing and dates to the Franklin D. Roosevelt administration.
Sources told RCP that a new, blast-proof gate to the Eisenhower building also is set to be operable by June. The entryway, intended for VIP guests, will be similar to the existing West Wing lobby.
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