10.10.2013 20

The $578,000 modular bathroom

By Tom Toth

Brawner Farm at the Manassas National Battlefield Park puts a high premium on its bathrooms. Under the supervision of the National Park Service, the government has spent over $578,000 to erect a “comfort station.”

You read that correctly–$578,000–for a bathroom in a park.

Replacing the standard, plastic portable waste receptacles previously in the park, one could imagine these tax dollars were on a hand-built, beautiful “comfort facility” for the fine visitors of this park, right?

Well, no.1

Delivered in two modular pieces, this moderately-sized example of engineering mediocrity (complete with unsightly faux stone siding) sits two of each gender at a time.


Naturally, this fueled our imaginations. How far would $578,000 get you toward buying other toilet-rendering facilities in Manassas, VA?


For $575,0000 you could purchase this home, complete with 4 (admittedly fewer) bathroom installations, right down the street from the park in Manassas.

But let’s to take the search a step further. Away from the bloated Washington, D.C. metro area real estate costs, what does $578,000 look like?


Well in Omaha, Nebraska $550,000 will buy this prime piece of property (with plenty left over for a 6th bathroom).

How does the National Park Service turn a beautiful estate in Omaha into a portable potty in a Manassas National Park?

Well, in traditional government fashion, they paid for a 449-page report on the proposal–coupled aptly with a skimpy 90-page “Environmental Assessment for a Comfort Station at the Brawner Farm.”

But the real irony: Upon review of the proposal, the bathroom was built to accommodate the 150th anniversary of the Second Battle of Bull Run to be celebrated in August 2012. The facility was not open to the public until September of this year, missing its release date by 13 months. Expensive and too late to serve its intended purpose; sounds like a perfect government project!

Below are links to the itemized expense reports for the project:

Tom Toth is the Social Media Director for Americans for Limited Government
Richard McCarty contributed to this report 

  • bb333

    these are all over …hve one at our park….of course not as nice as state park one that prob cost $ 25k

  • JimH

    They must have equip it with those $1200 military toilet seats. Maybe the installation fee?
    How do you justify a half million dollar “outhouse”?

  • pduffy

    AND we pay to get into these parks, so why where they shutdown? These parks should be self-sufficient with entrance fees. Not one dime of taxpayer money should be used to support them. If the free market demands their use by the public, then let the visitors pay, otherwise CLOSE THEM DOWN.

  • RichFromShowMe

    The simple solution to all this disgusting-bureaucratic-waste is to sell Federal Parks and Lands to Investors and Entrepreneurs who will develop them with the single concept of cost efficiency and pleasing their patrons for return business.

    NOT the Federal Government initiated idea of insolence and contempt for their customers; i.e., the average tax paying citizen.

    This is how a FREE ECONOMY Works!

  • littlepeaks

    Earlier this year, I worked for the federal government. We built a research laboratory (actually a contractor built it) — had one large room, a mechanical/storage room, and an office, and a small room containing the furnace, hot water heater and breaker panels. We were limited to spending $500,000. We actually got the whole lab built for $500,000, but it took a lot of negotiations to meet that price. The lab is currently in use. Wish we were able to proportionally spend more money on the lab using that “comfort station” as a baseline. I would like you to know that not everyone in the federal government has money to waste.

  • WarEagle82

    They spent $578,000 on the bathrooms and then awarded themselves huge bonuses for their cost-savings and paperwork reduction. The original budget had probably been $5,000,000 and would have required a 2,500 page document.

  • DAY8293A

    Follow the money,,, there has to be a lot of kick backs along the way here,,,, What democrat senator or congressman is in this district???????? The company that built these toilets must have made some big donations to them….

  • Screwed_in_Ca

    The reason they buy this shit is it is not their money.

  • MontieR

    Over $500,000 FOR AN OUT HOUSE. This is why we do NOT wan’t your continuing
    (insanity) resolution. WE WAN’T A FUNCTIONAL BUDGET.

  • CC1980

    Close down the national parks and greedy developers will make eyesores out of some of the most beautiful places on Earth, that wouldn’t be very smart, instead of shutting down the parks how about getting rid of the trash in government!

  • pduffy

    Privatize the management of them like a private business, and put it out for bid. That way no ‘greedy developers’ would touch them, but the free market would set the price of admission and the parks could be managed outside of government without any taxpayer dollars. The same needs to be done for the postal service. It’s time to get ‘government’ out of the business of anything.

  • LetsJustVoidTheBillOfRights

    Welcome to really really, REALLY stupid America. Whole new meaning to “Come and take it”, eh…?

  • BobbyHead

    I can’t afford to buy a government portable toilet.

  • feedup

    Just sickening. Our government is screaming about our debt but they only have to look to their own back yard as to where this money has all went. This toilet along with the hundreds of no pays back loans for foreign nationals to get non pay back loans for business’s ( plus not going into debt over medical bills because they get free medical care, and I can not get a home loan or a small business loan because of mounting medical bills and I have insurance on top of that, We as Americans have no American dream, only foreigners do though. So sad to think about it.), the un-godly amount of foreign aid we give out to other countries ( why are we not paying our debts with that money? ), and massive spending on things like this very expensive toilet modular unit. Reminds me of the big leak a few years back on a huge amount of money that was spent on I believe was hammers or screws, I think you know where I am going with this. We the people have slowly lost all our rights to have a say in any of what our government does. I went to vote this year and voted anyway, even as I was standing in line and people around me were saying that the election was over that Obama had won and that the votes here in Virginia did not count, how can there be a win if all votes are not counted? Sounds like a crooked system if you ask me. We are slowly working are way into a socialistic society. That makes my blood boil. I grew up believing that my vote very much counted and to not vote gave me no right to bitch with whomever took office. Excuse me for ranting but I am one feed up taxpayer.

  • crustyone

    Was the contractor that provided the materials and labor a friend or relative of either Bo or Moo?

  • crustyone

    Are only rare forms of excrement or liquid waste allowed to be deposited in this overpriced facility?

  • crustyone

    What is the toilet paper made of?

  • crustyone

    SFB Pelosi and Reid probably approved this.

  • crustyone

    One merely has to consider the intelligence of the fools approving crap like this (and Obozocare).

  • mark

    the lunacy has to stop, this is just insane its time for states to convene may the God of creation expose this thievery.

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