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Government Conference Facilities?

What if the government had its own conference facilities? Arguable the military already does, if conference organizers utilize their service academy facilities. But what about civilian agencies? Check out the National Conservation Training Center in West Virginia, it’s amazing and a short drive from Washington, DC. Could that be used by other agencies?

What other facilities exist for conference planners. Despite the GSA debacle, we’ll still need to gather and collaborate from time to time. How can we do it and contain costs, avoid tarnishing our reputations, remain good stewards of the taxpayer, and get our work done?

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Wow – what a beautiful facility.

I’ve had a work offsite at OPM’s Shepherdstown facility in West Virginia. Not sure if it was any cheaper though (OPM charged our agency)

Teri Centner

The military has more than just its service academies. They have many venues to choose from throughout the world. Some are for a specific Service (like the ADM Gooding facility at the Navy Yard) and others are available to anybody in the DoD (like the Edelweiss facility in Garmisch, Germany). Funny thing is, I don’t think there’s a list of them – official or unofficial – anywhere.

I like the idea of gathering a list of both DoD *and* Federal facilities!

Benjamin Strong

Steve, it may not be “cheaper” in the long run, but the perception may be more tolerable. Should the government use their own facilities or meet at a “cheaper” resort? Probably meet at government facilities.

Teri, a list of available facilities would be (in the words of Govloop) AWESOME!


It seems like a good idea to me. There are probably facilities that aren’t even being used that could be leveraged. You would think if they shared amongst government that the facilities would be functional most of the time…

William Lim

Sharing conference facilities often requires significant upper management buy-in even between divisions of the same Cabinet department. Due to the lack of sufficient in-house space, my agency has trainings in borrowed or donated facilities all the time. However, this only happens because we have a full time training director with a supervisory title, and because successive department leaders have seen the value of in-house continuing education and have supported it.

Megan Price

I think creating a list of government venues would be helpful. It’s hard to have venues large enough to host some of the major training events government executes; but I do know there are a few in the DC area that provide a significant government discount – to name a few: the Ronald Reagan Building and Gallaudet University’s Convention Center.

While I think having a federal meeting space would be helpful to the planners and in some parts the budget; I think there could be reasons for cancelling these facilities for many of the same reasons they cut funding for the teleworking centers.

Mark Sullivan

In addition to shared facilities across federal agencies, I think it would be valuable to consider a cross-jurisdictional shared service approach. Part of the value in holding conferences is in sharing ideas and information across Federal, State, and Local lines, and many states and cities operate goverment owned convention centers. In a world of limited (and decreasing) resources, it seems prudent to leverage economies of scale beyond our own walls.

Teri Centner

I think the reason the military has so many conference facilities is that sometimes it comes down to security first and money second. People want to have classified conferences, and you can’t easily do that in a public space.

Cheryl Kristant

DOD has a conference facility in Southbridge, MA. Wonderful facility – tough/expensive to get there – no public transportation, only breakfast & lunch available.