The first phase of the Pentagon's $1.2 billion overhaul, which is the largest federal building renovation project ever undertaken, is complete. "This is a great achievement, but it's only the first installment," said David "Doc" Cooke, the Pentagon's director for administration and management, at a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Thursday. The first phase, known as Wedge One, entailed removing 28 million pounds of asbestos-contaminated materials, gutting 1 million square feet of office space on five floors (about a fifth of the entire Pentagon) and moving 5,000 employees to rented office space. The work was completed in about three years. Displaced employees will move into the space at a rate of about 100 per week between now and October from the Pentagon office space next in line for renovation. They will find eight new elevators, an atrium with escalators to all five floors, new heating and air conditioning systems, well-lit corridors and offices and more than 1,500 new windows. The Pentagon also underwent a technological rewiring because the building hasn't met electrical code standards since 1953. The entire renovation effort will be carried out in five phases and will be completed by the middle of the next decade. More offices will be renovated in the second phase, which will also see rerouting of Metro (subway) and bus stops to improve security.
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