If placed end to end, the shelves installed recently in the new National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) office would stretch from Florida to Cuba. For the geographically challenged, that's 94 miles.
The shelving units, 9,440 in all, were installed in NARA's Office of Regional Records Services in Perris, Calif., by Borroughs. Each 15-shelf unit measures 42 inches wide by 30 inches deep by 14 feet, 3 inches high. Taken together, the units cover almost 150,000 square feet.
The shelving was chosen partly for its ability to maximize the use of space. The four-bay storage system will enable the agency to store 424,800 boxes of records in an 850,000-cubic-foot storage area. But the storage system had to fill other requirements as well; the shelves also must meet or exceed NARA's requirements for fire suppression, code compliance and ability to withstand seismic disturbances.
NARA, which operates 14 similar facilities located throughout the United States, is responsible for the preservation and storage of records ranging from historical documents to evidence and court records. In addition to safeguarding records, the agency strives to provide easy access to them.