A proposed closure and renovation of Sylvester Park in downtown Olympia has been canceled to pay for emergency repairs in multiple buildings on the Capitol Campus.
Olympia’s record rainfall in October has revealed at least 40 leaks that need to be fixed in 13 campus buildings, as well as in five state-owned buildings in other counties, said Jim Erskine, spokesman for the state Department of Enterprise Services.
“Some of these leaks have damaged ceilings, walls and carpeting,” he said.
The local list includes the Governor’s Mansion, Legislative Building, Temple of Justice, the Cherberg Building, the O’Brien Building, the Insurance Building, the Newhouse Building, General Administration Building, the Transportation Building, Employment Security Building, Natural Resources Building, Office Building 2 (OB2) and the Capitol Court Building.
Erskine said the weather also has damaged properties the department manages in Pierce, King, Skagit and Cowlitz counties.
The department will conduct an investigation to track down as many leaks as possible, then hire a private contractor to come up with a cost estimate later in the month, Erskine said.
Because the repairs are being sought under an emergency declaration, the department is allowed to hire a contractor without going through a competitive bidding process. Erskine said any future project proposals that extend beyond these basic repairs, such as a roof replacement, would go through a competitive bidding process for a contractor.
“It’ll be a very limited scope of work,” he told The Olympian, adding that the department wants to complete basic repairs before winter weather arrives. “These are emergency repairs that need to be done, and we don’t have money sitting around to do this work.”
Erskine said the department will use about $360,000 that had been slated for renovating the state-owned Sylvester Park. That proposal had called for closing the park for eight months — that was supposed to begin in mid-September — to install a new underground drainage system, an irrigation system, electrical infrastructure and energy-efficient lighting.
At this time, there are no plans to reschedule renovations at the park, Erskine said.
Because the park will remain open this winter, the Olympia Downtown Association has confirmed that its annual holiday tree lighting event will be held in Sylvester Park, where it has traditionally been conducted. The festivities begin at noon Nov. 27.