Wednesday, December 5, 2012

The way of all sheetrock

General Administration Building
The term “white elephant,” according to Wikipedia, refers to “a valuable but burdensome possession of which its owner cannot dispose and whose cost (particularly cost of upkeep) is out of proportion to its usefulness or worth.”

That may describe the General Administration Building on the edge of the capitol campus in Olympia, a 56-year-old, 284,000-square-foot, state-owned structure now housing the State Patrol headquarters, the transition office for Gov.-elect Jay Inslee and some other state agencies. Its fate was considered at a recent meeting of the Capitol Campus Design Advisory Committee, which comprises Secretary of State Sam Reed, four design professionals and four legislators (including Rep. Sam Hunt).

Put simply, the building needs work: $125 million in work to bring it fully up to current standards, the committee was told. Demolition and replacement would run more than $160 million. And even just to fix leaks and keep the lights on for another year will cost $750,000, the state Department of Enterprise Services says.

The building was the subject of a recent news article in the hometown paper.

IBM Building
Meanwhile, another state-owned building of similar vintage nearby is headed for the elephant graveyard. But before it goes down for good, local firefighters will use it to practice their skills at forcing their way into buildings.

The IBM Building will then be demolished. It was most recently home to the state Employment Security Department, which moved out nearly two years ago.

The IBM Building rated a recent news article of its own.

To read this story in Spanish, click here.