October 7, 2011
National Archives Dedicates New National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis October 15
- NARA Public Affairs Staff
- St. Louis, Wanda Williams
St. Louis, MO…The National Archives and Records Administration will dedicate a new home for National Personnel Records Center (NPRC) on October 15, 2011. This new center will house more than 100 million personnel files, some of which are nearly two centuries old. These files document the public service of military veterans and civilian Federal employees.
The new 475,000-square-foot structure, located in north St. Louis County, Missouri, will replace two aging structures in the St. Louis area that have been used for decades to store the records and make information from them available upon request.
Archivist of the United States David S. Ferriero said the goal of the building was to provide easy access to the records while ensuring their safety and security.
“The design and planning were driven by our mission of preserving and protecting the records housed there,” he said. “Equally important is our ability to serve those who need access to the information contained in those records.”
He added: “We are very proud of our assistance to veterans, civil servants, and their families and look forward to providing them with even better service.”
Requests from veterans make up the majority of the nearly 5,000 requests the center receives each day for information from the files— totaling more than one million requests a year. The military files alone comprise an estimated 6.2 billion pages of material.
Personnel files of people like Douglas MacArthur, Clark Gable, Elvis Presley, Grover Cleveland Alexander, Beatrice Arthur, and recent Presidents exist along with those of ordinary Americans in neat rows on 385,000 metal shelves, 29 feet high. The biggest file of all is that of Air Force General Henry “Hap” Arnold at 6,044 pages. The size of an average record is 75 pages.
The NPRC is moving records from the older facilities to the new building at the rate of 6,000 cubic feet a day. The move is scheduled to be complete in September 2012.
The St. Louis facility is the largest National Archives operation outside the Washington, D.C., area. About 700 people are employed in the St. Louis facility, and 165 more in an annex in an underground cave in Valmeyer, IL, about 40 miles southeast of St. Louis.
The new building, which will accommodate 2.3 million cubic feet of records, meets all modern archival standards and is certified under the Leadership in Energy and Environment Design (LEED) program. Archival storage bays are designed and built to eliminate materials that are harmful to the documents such as airborne particulates and ultra-violet light.
The new structure actually houses two operations of the National Archives: the National Archives at St. Louis and the National Personnel Records Center, which is the custodian of records of individuals who left government service less than 62 years ago; the originating agency is the legal owner. Sixty-two years after an individual has left government service, his or her file becomes a permanent record and comes under physical and legal control of the National Archives at St. Louis.
While some of the records in the St. Louis facility date back to 1821, most records involving military and civilian personnel before the early 1900s are held in the National Archives Building in Washington, DC.
The new structure was built by the Molasky Group of Companies through the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA), which leases it to the National Archives. The project, designed by HKS of Dallas, was also a joint venture between Hardin Construction Company of Atlanta and St. Louis-based Tarlton Corporation.
The project pumped $435 million into the St. Louis area economy and involved more than 300 construction jobs.
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For Press information, contact the National Archives Public Affairs Staff at 202-357-5300.
In St. Louis, contact Wanda Williams at (314) 801-9313 or firstname.lastname@example.org.