A new Pentagon Metro Entrance Facility (MEF) was officially opened today at a ribbon-cutting ceremony held at 11 a.m. EST. The ceremony was presided over by Department of Defense director of Administration and Management Ray DuBois.
The $37 million MEF is the final phase of a congressionally mandated project to improve Pentagon security and had been in the planning long before Sept. 11, 2001. The first phase consisted of the Pentagon Transit Center, which opened on Dec. 16, 2001, and increased the standoff distance of buses and other large vehicles from the Pentagon.
The MEF eliminates direct entry from the Metro tunnel into the Pentagon and provides a secure screening facility outside the perimeter of the building. The facility also is the new location for the Pentagon Tour Office and the building's Pass Office. The Pentagon Metro Station is the most highly trafficked public transit stop in Northern Virginia with more than 34,000 riders daily.
DuBois praised the workers and designers of the project for producing a "splendid result" from the difficult task to create a secure and functional facility. Pointing out its marbled floors, modernized lighting, and mini-theater for viewing short videos on the military, DuBois said that with this facility, "Elegance has finally come to the Pentagon."
During the ceremony, DuBois also received a safety award on behalf of all Pentagon employees from the Protecting People First Foundation (PPFF). The Pentagon was cited by PPFF for installing blast-resistant windows as part of the ongoing renovation project. PPFF founder Aren Almon-Kok presented the award. Almon-Kok lost her one-year-old child to flying glass in the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah federal building in 1995.
Additional information on the MEF and the Pentagon Renovation Program may be obtained by visiting http://metro.pentagon.mil.