For more than 100 years, miners worked under the hills of Kansas chipping out limestone for construction and road-building. In the 1950s, workers began to mine limestone to leave behind useable subterranean space. There is an estimated 20 million square feet of business and industrial space underground in the greater Kansas City area, which is about 10 percent of the business space in the area.
NARA has 1.3 million cubic feet of underground storage space available for federal records in Lenexa, Kansas. The American Indian Records Repository (AIRR), located 80 to 90 feet underground, is currently storing boxes in NARA archival quality “storage bays” that total approximately 350,000 cubic feet.
AIRR meets NARA standards for records storage and is on par with NARA’s College Park facility in Maryland—the best archival facility in the world. The air inside AIRR is filtered repeatedly for airborne particulates, dust and filaments. No ink pens, gum, candy, food or liquids are allowed in any of the research or storage areas at AIRR.