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character that the Court of Claims would have had jurisdiction under its general jurisdiction?
Mr. SHEPARD. Yes, sir.
Mr. SHERLEY. And thereupon rendered a judgment in favor of the lessor and in the amount which has been certified?
Mr. SHEPARD. Yes, sir.
Mr. SHERLEY. Do you recall what the facts were?
Mr. SHEPARD. There were three claims embraced in this case. A lease was in existence between the Navy Department and Gen. Mills. The lease had a provision relating to the question of repairs, and the usual provision that the premises were to be surrendered at the termination of the lease in the same condition as at the beginning of the lease, ordinary wear and tear excepted. One of the claims was for waste alleged to have been committed by the Government, and a judgment was given for a certain amount on that claim. Another claim was for the expense of waterproofing some vaults underneath the sidewalks contiguous to the building. The Navy Department ordered the work done over the protest of the landlord, who contended that such work was not covered by the terms of the lease. The court held that the work was not covered by the terms of the lease, but that the work was required to be done by the Navy Department, and that the landlord paid for it at the request, or, perhaps. the command, of the Navy Department; that the Navy Department received the benefit of the work, and that, therefore, it was incumbent upon the Government to pay for the improvement done. A third claim was for the repair of a cornice, which, through the action of the elements, had become damaged and a part of it fell. This cornice was reconstructed by the claimant, the landlord, over his protest, and the Navy Department refused to pay for the same. The court disallowed that claim on the ground that it did not fall within the terms of the contract. I think those are all. The Navy Department always conceded some recovery on the first item, but the question was how much should be paid. They did not turn over the building in the same condition in which they got it, but there was a dispute as to the amount.
SATURDAY, AUGUST 11, 1917.
DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE.
STATEMENT OF HON. WILLIAM C. REDFIELD, SECRETARY, ACCOMPANIED BY MR. S. W. STRATTON, DIRECTOR BUREAU OF STANDARDS.
Mr. SHERLEY. Mr. Secretary, you have an estimate. found in House Document No. 297, this session:
For additional amount for construction of a fireproof laboratory building to provide additional space to be used for research and testing in radio communication, and to enable the Bureau of Standards to provide space and facilities for cooperative research and experimental work in radio communication by the War, Navy, Post Office. Treasury, and other departments, and for suitable aerials, $40,000.
Secretary REDFIELD. Dr. Stratton will explain the matter to you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. STRATTON. Mr. Chairman, provision was made for this laboratary in the sundry civil bill of last year. We have prepared plans and solicited bids. The building is of the same style of our other buildings, and we estimated about the same amount per cubic foot as heretofore.. When the bids were opened we found that the lowest bid was practically $90,000. That is due to the increased cost of construction, and the fact that bidders are not making contracts at a reasonable figure on account of the great uncertainty as to the cost of materials and labor. We think that the building, even under the present prices, can be built for less than the estimates by a contract on cost plus profit basis, but at the same time we felt that we ought not to proceed on the cost plus percentage basis without authority. If we could be auhorized to proceed on the cost plus percentage basis it would take probably $25,000 or $30,000 additional to complete the building.
Mr. SHERLEY. These people understand in making bids that, this being Government work, they probably can be and will be supplied with the necessary material and given certain priorities.
Mr. STRATTON. Yes; that is all right, but it is a question of cost of labor and the cost of material.
Mr. SHERLEY. This represents nearly a 100 per cent increase.
Mr. STRATTON. Yes, sir; but I do not think it ought to be 100 per cent. We have here the specifications and the bids. The drawings have been completed, and if we could proced on the basis of cost plus percentage and do our own superintending, we could probably get a cheaper building. We have had experience in this work, and could construct the building with just as litle additional money to the $50,000 as possible, if you agred to that, and we would not change it from the present plan.
Mr. SHERLEY. It is your idea to have a limit of cost of $90,000 and be authorized to construct it for cost plus 10 per cent commission? Dr. STRATTON. Yes, sir; we can do better than that. We can get it for a commission of 8 per cent, I am sure. We have an agreement for an 8 per cent commission. Furthermore, we have superintended all of our own buildings and we have that kind of work pretty well in Land, and I think we can do it cheaper for the Government in that way than any other.
Mr. SHERLEY. Will you suggest in the record the form in which you would want this additional appropriation embodied?
Dr. STRATTON. Yes. I think I would rather build it in this way because I know we can get it at the very lowest possible figure. € Contracts can now be let in this form, but the amount available is not E sufficient.
Mr. BYRNS. I notice in this document that something is said about the great necessity of having this building. About when do you expect to have it completed, if you get the authority?
Dr. STRATTON. We will get it under roof before the cold weather sets in. Everything is ready to go ahead. The drawings are complete, and we could proceed to work on it next Monday morning if we had authority; but we felt it was not best to go ahead on that basis without authority for extending the limit of cost.
Secretary REDFIELD. You will notice that this has the approval of the Secretary of War and the Secretary of the Navy. We thought
of going to the President for the money out of the emergency fund. but we took it up with Mr. Fitzgerald and he said he preferred to have it come here.
Dr. STRATTON. The matter is pressing. The Navy Department, the War Department, and the Bureau of Standards have united on the scientific work of wireless, and this work is developing very rapidly. This building should be pushed to completion as early as possible. I think we could have it ready to move into by the early spring if we do not have to change our plans. If we have to change our drawings and specifications, it would mean additional time.
Mr. BYRNS. And you are in position to give the matter very close supervision if you have the legislation to which you refer?
Dr. STRATTON. Yes, sir. We superintended the last three buildings built; we have the facilities, and I can not but feel that these people have added on more for safety in their estimates than is necessary. I think the increased cost under present conditions would probably be something like 25 or 30 per cent and not 100 per cent. However, this is a mere guess on my part. The bids were for $90,000. Mr. SHERLEY. Is this to be a brick building?
Dr. STRATTON. Yes, sir; a very plain, simple brick building, similar to the others.
SATURDAY, AUGUST 11, 1917.
BUREAU OF LIGHTHOUSES.
STATEMENT OF HON. WILLIAM C. REDFIELD, SECRETARY OF COMMERCE, ACCOMPANIED BY MR. GEORGE R. PUTNAM, COMMISSIONER OF LIGHTHOUSES.
DEPOT FOR FIFTH LIGHTHOUSE DISTRICT, NORFOLK, VA.
Secretary REDFIELD. Mr. Chairman, there is one other matter. This item refers to an estimate which was included in the Book of Estimates for 1918, page 621, and this item is No. 31. I will hand it to you for the record. It refers to the depot of the Lighthouse Service in the port of Norfolk, located as per this map [indicating]. You notice the navy yard adjoining here [indicating]; and, also as it appears from this blue print, located here [indicating]. The navy yard is here [indicating], and the block is between. Concerning this matter. I would like to file a letter from the Acting Secretary of the Navy dated to-day, a statement from the lighthouse inspector dated August 10, and a statement from the Commissioner of Lighthouses dated to-day. I will say, preliminarily to what Mr. Putnam will say to you, that the reason we bring this up now is-and it is as much our purpose to get your judgment upon it as to urge it-because of its immediate importance as a war measure. We do not bring it up because the Lighthouse Service, excessively crowded as it is, needs this additional space; we bring it up because the work of the Navy Department, to which all of our vessels have been turned over on the Atlantic coast, is very largely held up at times by present conditions.
I call your attention to the statement of the inspector as to these vessels which are in the naval service as well as doing lighthouse work. For example, on Monday, the 16th of July, and again on Sunday, the 22d of July, these vessels were at that dock-the statement in your hand will show you that the dock has a frontage of 246 feet-he says:
On both occasions the following vessels were at the depot awaiting opportunity to receive water, coal, provisions, ice, laundry, buoyage, supplies for station, etc.: Orchid, Holly, Laurel, Arbutus, Juniper, light vessel No. 72, light vesseľ No. 101, besides the barge, pile driver, and lighter of repair party. On both occasions vessels were tied up four deep in front of the depot wharf, as well as tied to piles and dilapidated wharf on adjacent property. The aggregate length of the above-mentioned vessels is 1,030. The wharf frontage of the Portsmouth depot is 243 feet. I think it a conservative estimate to say that between one and two days of each week are lost to several tenders due to this condition, which must be seen to be fully appreciated.
It is for that reason that the matter came up to me, and only a day or two ago I asked the Navy Department to state their views. A formal estimate will be seen through which will contain a fuller statement of the matter, but for the naval work there it is a matter of very serious moment; whereas if we get this land, this single block, in between, we could then link up with the navy yard and work to very much greater advantage for both parties.
Mr. SHERLEY. Your original estimate placed a cost of $125,000 on the purchase of the water-front property. Is that the property you have just alluded to?
Secretary REDFIELD. That is it; yes.
Mr. PUTNAM. The estimate is general; it does not restrict us to this particular piece of land. Of course, if we could not buy this property at a reasonable amount we would have to go somewhere else.
Mr. SHERLEY. The nature of the estimate rather indicates the desirability of not undertaking to enlarge the present site, on the ground that the buildings are old and dilapidated and that you should acquire a new site.
Mr. PUTNAM. That has been under consideration-the question of getting a new site or enlarging this site.
Mr. SHERLEY. This block that has been referred to would be in the nature of an addition to the existing site?
Mr. PUTNAM. Yes, sir; it would be valuable to the Navy because it is between the navy yard and our present site.
Mr. SHERLEY. The Government has just bought quite a bit of property for the use of the Navy in connection with the naval station at Jamestown. I have not a map of sufficient size to advise me of localities, but perhaps you can answer whether that is too far removed from this point for a light to serve the purposes of the present light?
Mr. PUTNAM. This is not for a light but for a lighthouse depot. Mr. SHERLEY. It is just a depot?
Mr. PUTNAM. Yes.
Mr. SHERLEY. And there is no light there?
Mr. PUTNAM. No; it is a supply station, a general supply station for the fifth lighthouse district. All of the buoys are brought here; all supplies to be sent to the lighthouses are brought here and all of
the vessels of the district have to come here and take their supplies
Mr. SHERLEY. The Government is planning to make an investment at Jamestown which is to be very extensive. I think it is likely that the large storehouse that the Navy contemplated building at Norfolk will not be built at Norfolk but will be built at Jamestown, and there will be, of necessity, an investment running into very large figures. Have you considered the possibility and desirability of obtaining a part of that land and using some of the facilities there, having this in mind: That one of the strongest reasons urged in favor of the purchase of the Jamestown Exposition site as a naval station was that it would shorten, by a good many miles, and save a good deal of time in getting supplies?
Mr. PUTNAM. We have considered that; yes, sir; and I have talked informally with naval officers on the subject; they have assured me that the naval plans for the development of the Jamestown site are such that they would not have any room for a lighthouse depot there.
Mr. SHERLEY. That is the answer I would have expected, but I am not quite sure that the facts will not develop that there could be a joint use of some of the facilities.
Mr. PUTNAM. We would be very glad if that were the case, but they have not given us the slightest hope that it would be possible. I am quite sure that their plans for the development of that site would not give any room for a lighthouse depot there. One difficulty with the Jamestown site is that the frontage which is on or near any deep channel is rather limited; the outer part of the Jamestown site has an extensive shoal near it.
Mr. SHERLEY. That is all to be cured by dredging and the building of wharves; the estimate in the appropriation contemplates doing all of that work.
Mr. PUTNAM. I confess I am not familiar with the details of that development, but I know that the Navy is continuing to use the present navy yard, which is right near this depot site, and that they are overcrowded; that even when they are using our vessels they are so crowded that they will not allow our tenders to stay at the navy yard.
Mr. SHERLEY. Have you any idea that you can get the land between the navy yard and your station for $125,000?
Mr. PUTNAM. Yes, sir. We might not need the whole block; the most important to us would be the water front.
Mr. SHERLEY. But, of course, that is the valuable part of the land?
Mr. PUTNAM. Not altogether, because a considerable portion of this street is valuable for business purposes. This is the main entrance to the navy yard, and the frontage on that street would not be useful to the Lighthouse Service. This is a very dilapidated dock and has not been in use for many years.
Mr. SHERLEY. It has what frontage?
Mr. PUTNAM. It has 275 feet, or somewhat more frontage than our dock. The effect of this would be to rather more than double our frontage, because we could probably use the street in between.