The original structure of the building was forty years old. While there had been some additions and minor renovations completed over the years, the cost of maintenance was becoming prohibitive. The patchwork of various components connecting the older structure to the additions created inefficiencies and inadequacies in energy usage, heating and cooling, and technology delivery. The new structure will have more capacity, flexibility, and functionality conducive to hosting certifying examinations, item writing sessions, conferences, and large meetings more efficiently and effectively. More lactation and wellness rooms are also part of the new footprint to facilitate more satisfying candidate and examiner experiences during certifying examinations.
ABOG certainly understands the frustration and distress that SB8 and SB4 have generated. However, after extensive discussion and thoughtful deliberation among leadership, ABOG determined that its headquarters would remain in Texas for numerous reasons, which are outlined in our October 29, 2021 statement. Chief among those reasons is the fact that the economic impact of ABOG moving out of Texas will not solve or influence Texas legislation or the current national issues regarding reproductive health.
While the COVID-19 pandemic has taught us that as a certifying organization we need to be nimble and effective in our ability to operate on a virtual basis when needed, ABOG remains firm on its position that virtual delivery is not the most effective means to administer the oral Certifying Examination (CE). The exam itself is highly complex, and while administering the CE virtually has been a necessity during the pandemic, it is not the optimum assessment delivery relative to candidate/examiner interaction, and the need for assuring exam integrity and security. Additionally, to ensure fairness for all candidates, it is critical that they all share the same experience and setting whenever possible, which can only be controlled and assured in an in-person setting.
Construction is scheduled to begin in January 2022, and current plans are to have construction completed by late 2023.
The new building will have four floors, with a testing center that will house fifty-nine examination rooms plus wellness and lactation rooms on multiple floors. The fourth floor will house administrative offices and meeting space, the third floor will house conference and dining rooms, and the first floor will consist of the lobby and conference space.
ABOG is operating from a temporary office location near the construction site.