The National Guard Armory in Olympia has been closed after lead was found in a basement storage room.
Surfaces were swabbed for tests in January, said Karina Shagren, spokesperson for the Washington Military Department. When they came back at higher than allowable levels, regulations required the building be closed, she said.
The building at 515 Eastside St. SE was used daily for recreational basketball, volleyball or ballroom dancing, she said, and was was leased on weekends for swap meets and sales. It also is used for job fairs for veterans.
There used to be an indoor firing range in the basement, Shagren said, and that is a possible source of the lead.
One community group that has been displaced was Patrons of South Sound Cultural Arts. As it had in years past, POSSCA had planned its annual garage and art sale at the armory.
“I’m exploring other venues now,” said newly elected POSSCA president Cortney Kelley. She said the armory was ideal because it was affordable, in a good location and a large space.
The timeline for reopening is not known, Shagren said, because it’s not known yet what will be required to remove the hazard.
“It could be several months,” she said.
Shagren said although the facility is closed to the public, the contaminated room has been closed off and regular staff members are working in the building. All other areas tested clean, she said.
The facility has a kitchen, a large gym/drill floor and multiple classrooms.
The building serves as the headquarters of the 2d Battalion, 146 Field Artillery Regiment, which is part of the 81st Armored Brigade Combat Team in the Washington Army National Guard.