Politics blog

Renaming OB2 as 'Human Services Building' gets first OK

OlympianMay 22, 2014 

The west side of Office Building 2, also known as OB2, with the dome of the Natural Resources Building in the distance.

BRAD SHANNON — The Olympian

A proposed new name for Office Building 2, which houses state government's largest agency, passed the first cut Thursday. The name "Human Services Building" won unanimous endorsement from a panel of architects and elected officials that reviews names and building project designs for the state Capitol Campus  names and building project designs.

There were no dissenters to proposal from Department of Social and Health Services Secretary Kevin Quigley to call it the "Human Services Building." He has said he wanted a name to reflect the agency’s work to provide services to 2.2 million people in the areas of healthcare, housing, welfare and protection from harm, as our story this week explained. 

Approval by the Capitol Campus Design Advisory Committee was the first step to renaming the building, which was constructed in 1975 but never got properly named. DSHS staffers Vann Smiley and Jeff Willis indicated OB2 was the only building in its vicinity without a name.

Office Building 2 was a placeholder name for the planned structure in a campus plan dated 1970, according to the Department of Enterprise Services, the state landlord agency. The name OB2 stuck – whereas OB1 came to be known as the Transportation Building and OB3 was renamed Natural Resources Building when it opened in the early 1990s.

State Sen. Karen Fraser, a Democrat from Thurston County, backed the renaming, calling it “a great idea.’’ Rep. Sam Hunt, D-Olympia, seconded the unanimous motion.

Secretary of State Kim Wyman, also a CCDAC member, said she hadn't realize DSHS was housed at OB2 until she took a tour.

The renaming idea now goes to the State Capitol Committee, which is chaired by Lt. Gov. Brad Owen and has three other statewide elected officials with votes, including the governor’s designee, Secretary of State Kim Wyman and Lands Commissioner Peter Goldmark.

The Legislature would get the final say, presumably in 2015.

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