Politics & Government

Two larger buildings proposed on campus

OLYMPIA ­- Two buildings larger than the historic legislative offices nearby might be built on the southern edge of the Capitol Campus, designers said Tuesday.

In an evening public meeting, representatives of the state Department of General Administration and design firm NBBJ discussed early ideas for a 3.5-acre site along two blocks of 14th Avenue near the Capitol.

The site could accommodate two buildings that together would make up between 170,000 and 270,000 square feet of office space, according to the state. By comparison, the historic John Cherberg and John O'Brien Buildings are roughly 100,000 square feet each.

The new buildings could house 500 employees, although all the figures offered Tuesday were preliminary. No sketches of proposed floor plans or designs have been completed, nor have the proposed buildings been approved by the Legislature.

Four existing buildings, the Irv Newhouse Building, the Visitor Center and two press houses, would be removed or demolished to make room for the structures.

About 30 people attended Tuesday's meeting, roughly half of whom were state employees. Neighbors of the property said a major new office could pose traffic, parking and other problems for the adjoining Historic South Capitol Neighborhood.

The commentary from the meeting will be taken into account as the plans are developed, said state planner Tom Evans.