New Situation Room Ready at White House

When President Bush returns to the White House tomorrow from his Texas holiday, a renovated Situation Room will be ready to keep him in touch with the world.

The Situation Room — really a suite of offices in the basement of the West Wing — was created by President Kennedy after the failed Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba.

But in recent years it's been showing its age. So crews have spent the past five months gutting it — and rebuilding it.

The new complex features five conference rooms plus a "watch floor" where staffers keep watch over banks of computer screens. The conference room designated for the president's use has six big plasma screens — and the ability to speak over secure links to U.S. commanders, agents and diplomats around the world.

But the White House won't say what the overhaul cost. Like so much else about the Situation Room, that information is classified.