Ground Floor of the West Wing

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Ground Floor

The ground floor of the West Wing houses offices for the president's staff and security, as well as the cafeteria and the White House Situation Room, made up of the Watch Center, a small conference room, and Video Teleconferencing Room.

The old structure (TR/Taft Executive Office Building) had only a rudimentary basement. The expansion of 1934 included not only a second floor but a large basement. Time magazine said at the opening:

President Roosevelt was beaming with happy expectation. So were the 120 members of the ... White House office force. They were delighted to have a wholly air-conditioned building to save them from the summer's heat; delighted with the roomy basement offices extending out under the lawn and surrounding a little sunken court with a fountain in its centre; delighted that in place of the beautiful but useless McKim dome over the old waiting room, their palace had got a roomy penthouse where more secretaries and clerks, including those of Mrs. Roosevelt, can do more work more easily.

The West Wing ground floor once contained the White House Bowling Alley—two lanes installed with private donations during the Truman administration in 1947 but removed in 1955. In 1969, one lane was installed by friends of President Nixon, who was an avid bowler, in the basement of the Residence.


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President Obama visits a ground floor staff office in 2009 (White House - Pete Souza)


Historical images of the West Wing ground floor