The on-site forensic investigations continued while the First Family was away campaigning. In October, the ceiling of the East Room began to collapse and required wood supports. The structure under the Main Stair was found to be crumbling. The president’s bathtub had begun sinking into the floor. The investigators discovered that the foundations of the interior walls supporting the upper floors and roof were all but non-existent. As they sank into the ground, the interior walls and floors were pulling away from the exterior walls leaving large gaps. They determined that the interior of the house was sinking and in danger of collapsing inwards; the entire mansion was unsafe (except for the new Truman Balcony)
Congress created the Commission on the Renovation of the Executive Mansion following the March 1949 recommendation of the president. It was granted authority to act on behalf of the federal government in the execution of the project, including responsibility for the White House and its site. It was composed of six men: two each appointed by the president, the Senate, and the House of Representatives. The president appointed American Institute of Architects president Douglas Orr and American Society of Civil Engineers president Richard E. Dougherty. Additional members of the commission were Senator Kenneth D.
The president was both the chief executive of the White House’s owner, the recent and future resident, and the current occupant of the West Wing. While the Commission was in overall charge of the project, the project manager, the day-to-day management and the contractor who executed the work, President Truman was a highly influential participant from early design and throughout all stages of construction. From an early meeting he made known he had a history of watching over the general contractor (while a senator overseeing construction of the Pentagon). The president was also known to conduct tours, sometimes daily, of the worksite, including climbing scaffolding. Truman was a man of strong opinions relating to architecture and history and in directing the work he made his presence felt.
The scope of the project involved the complete removal of the interior of the White House, except for the Third Floor, and included salvage and storage of critical interior elements, excavation of new basement levels, and construction of new foundations, steel and concrete structure, masonry interior walls with plaster finish and wood paneling, custom plaster moldings, refurbished and replacement windows, and new heating, ventilation, air conditioning, plumbing, electrical, and communications systems. The bulk of the work was to be accomplished within the exterior stone walls which were to be kept in place and repainted. Landscaping around the house was to be replaced. All workers were subjected to security clearance by the Secret Service. The West Wing was to be kept fully operational and occupied by the president and his staff. All work was to be completed for a total cost of $5.4 million and completed by late 1951 (in 660 days, approximately 22 months).
Total Area : 1235 Square Feet
Budget : 20 Lacks
1 Attached bathroom
1 Common bathroom