It's been a year since the final pieces of toxic siding were stripped from the historic structure in a Navy-led environmental cleanup, which had workers remove the hangar's asbestos-, lead- and PCB-laden shell. After the shell was removed, Navy contractors sprayed the frame down with an epoxy called Carbomastic-15, according to Lenny Siegel, director of the Mountain View-based Center for Environmental Public Oversight.
In theory, the epoxy will keep the structure from eroding and prevent the remaining asbestos, lead and PCBs from seeping into the ground water and the surrounding marsh, Siegel said. However, in order for the coating to remain effective, regular inspections will need to be conducted and touch-ups will have to be applied when cracks in the seal are detected.
Keeping Hangar One's skeleton sealed will cost somewhere in the neighborhood of $6 million over 30 years, a recently released Navy study concluded. The problem, according to Siegel, is that the Navy has tried to shift the burden of paying for that maintenance off onto NASA.
At a public meeting hosted by the Navy on Aug. 22, NASA officials and members of the local community, including Siegel, pushed the Navy to pick up the tab for ensuring Hangar One's skeletal seal remains intact.
Siegel said he thinks the Navy should pay whomever ends up leasing Hangar One to conduct maintenance of the structure.
Just who that might be is anyone's guess. At the moment, no one is stepping forward.
In March, NASA and the GSA opened a competitive bidding process — issuing a request for proposals with the intent of finding a "qualified lessee to provide for the rehabilitation and adaptive reuse of historic Hangar One."
As yet, no proposals have been received, according to David Haase, branch chief of utilization and realty services with the GSA. The deadline for proposals, which was initially set for Sept. 30 has been been pushed back to Oct. 16.
In late 2011, Google offered to foot the bill for Hangar One's restoration in exchange for a long-term lease and permission to house its fleet of private jets there. Google currently keeps its planes on Moffett Field in a separate hangar, and officials with the company have said they would prefer to remain at the Mountain View airfield.
But the search giant was essentially turned down after NASA and the White House made no formal response to the proposal. Google has since inked a deal to move its fleet to the Mineta San Jose International Airport.