Reflecting the importance of the United States’ diplomatic relationship with the Pacific Islands Countries, Ambassador C. Steven McGann dedicated the new United States Embassy facility in Suva, Fiji today. Fiji’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs Permanent Secretary Mr. Solo Mara and Office Director of the Department of State’s Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations (OBO), Donald Schenck attended the ribbon cutting ceremony.
The new Embassy facility was designed to incorporate green building techniques and to meet the principles of the U.S. Green Building Council for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) green building rating system. The multi-building complex provides more than 150 U.S. embassy employees, both American and Fijian, with over 7,500 square meters of working space.
The new facility features a collection of 30 original works of art by artists from the United States and the Embassy’s countries of accreditation: Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, Tonga, and Tuvalu, all inspired by the natural beauty of the South Pacific. The collection transcends barriers of culture, time, and language through a visual representation of shared values between the United States and the Pacific Islands Countries.
The Pernix Group of Lombard, Illinois constructed the facility, which was designed by the architectural firm of Hellmuth Obata and Kassabaum. The $81 million project generated jobs in both the United States and Fiji. The new facility was completed in June 2011 and at times involved more than 300 workers in its construction.
Since the 1999 enactment of the Secure Embassy Construction and Counterterrorism Act, OBO has moved more than 24,000 people into safer facilities. Including the dedication of the new Embassy in Suva, OBO has completed 81 diplomatic facilities and has an additional 35 projects in design or construction.
OBO’s mission is to provide safe, secure, and functional facilities for the conduct of U.S. diplomacy and the promotion of U.S. interests worldwide. These facilities should represent American values and the best in American architecture, engineering, technology, sustainability, art, culture, and construction execution.