It was a very productive first week of the Young Administration as the new Executive Officers truly hit the ground running right after installation on June 30th. Following a luncheon, the National Board of Management approved a motion to recommend to the 123rd Continental Congress for ratification, “Celebrate America!” as the name of the President General’s Project of the Young Administration, 2013-2016, and that it:
- A. Restore and improve the NSDAR complex of historic buildings;
- B. Promote membership;
- C. Advance NSDAR's technological capabilities in support of history, education and patriotism.
- D. Enhance awareness of the DAR and our valuable assets, and
- E. Fund community grants for historic preservation, education and patriotism.
As we started formulating our ideas for the important projects and initiatives we hope to undertake as part of the President General’s Project over the next three years, one immediately stood out for the long-term benefits it will be able to provide to both the financial well-being of NSDAR as well as the community in which we live. For the past three years we have explored the feasibility of undertaking a solar energy project for the National Headquarters. At last week’s meeting we were able to confirm that not only is such a project feasible, the pieces are in place to such a degree that the project can be started this fall. As part of our examination into the value of pursuing this project, it was discovered that last year alone energy prices for NSDAR jumped 18% with no guarantee that similar increases might not occur in the future. By installing a solar energy array on the roof of Constitution Hall (which would not be visible from the ground), we came to realize that there is an opportunity to stabilize and reduce electric energy costs with the proposed system over the next 25 to 30 years while at the same time contributing to the positive benefits solar energy has for the environment. This is undoubtedly a win-win for all concerned, and authorization has been given to proceed with this initiative.
At the same time, we began looking at other projects that require immediate attention. For instance, I was regularly reminded during Continental Congress both by my own personal experience and feedback from many other Daughters, that the antiquated heating and cooling systems of Constitution Hall are well overdue for upgrading. This was actually noted as part of the 2005 comprehensive building study, but other priorities caused the needed work not to be undertaken. We are at a point, however, where I feel work on the systems can no longer be delayed, and therefore I authorized expenditure of funds to begin work on detailed plans and specifications that will ultimately result in the first phase of the replacement of the cooling towers and the chilled water and condenser water pumping system that is estimated to cost in excess of $1 million. Not only will this much-needed upgrading result in better comfort for members, guests and staff --- it will also contribute to the preservation of our facilities and the artifacts they contain.
Over the next couple of months we will be identifying other projects of particular importance to members including continued restoration and improvement of our buildings, expansion of our Internet bandwidth (with numerous positive benefits of which better online access to our GRS records by staff and the many volunteers who assist prospective members with application papers is only one), updating of the Members’ and public websites, expansion of training opportunities through webinars, and a host of other enhancements designed to benefit Daughters and grow membership.
I’m pleased to share that your Executives spent four days in meetings in which we heard reports of our Administrator, Controller, Human Resources Director, Attorney and Development Director. We enjoyed greeting the employees on Tuesday morning with a continental breakfast in the O’Bryne Gallery and spent Wednesday morning having new photographs taken. Thursday we donned our red Celebrate America! shirts and white cowboy hats and joined other area Daughters in marching down Constitution Avenue in the Independence Day parade. Friday we had an opportunity to spend time with the staff in our offices before returning to our homes.
I look forward to communicating to you more of our plans as they are formulated. In the meantime, several other exciting opportunities are being considered and I’ll look forward to sharing them with you very soon.