Organization structure

A new Newhouse building is planned for the Capitol campus

By Lorilyn C. Lirio

The State Department of Business Services (DES), which operates a multi-phase project on the Capitol campus, unveiled the replacement plan for the Irving R. Newhouse Building during yesterday’s pre-submission hearing at the Olympia Site Plan Review Committee meeting.

The replacement of the Newhouse Building is part of the DES Legislative Campus Modernization (LCM) project.

DES, through architectural firm Miller Hull Partnership, described the project as including the demolition of some structures and the replacement of a new, four-story, 60,000-square-foot office building that sits in the State Capitol Campus on three plots, called Site Six Opportunity.

The Newhouse Building, built in 1934, is located at 215 Sid Snyder Avenue SW. The project, consisting of two blocks on the West Capitol Campus, is bounded by Sid Snyder Avenue SW to the north, Capitol Way South to the east, 15th Avenue SW to the south, and Water Street to the west.

“The existing Newhouse building is being demolished and some of the recovery is happening in that existing structure. There are life safety issues there, hence the replacement of that building,” said Christine Traber of Miller Hull during the hearing.

The existing Newhouse Building houses Senate Members’ Offices, Support Functions, Caucus Functions, the Senate Pages Room, and the coeducational Senate Pages School. Following demolition, the replacement Newhouse building will be constructed on the western half of Opportunity Site Six.

The replacement ground floor of the Newhouse Building will house Senate security, a public meeting room, the Joint Legislative Pages School and Auxiliary Pages Room, and a Legislative Services Training Room. There would be space for legislative services on the second floor, including a photo and video room, legislative office functions, ethics and human resources, and offices for members of the Senate. The third floor is dedicated to Senate members’ offices and support functions, while the fourth floor is dedicated to caucus offices and support functions.

Additional demolition

Other structures to be demolished are the Carlyon House at 201 Sid Snyder Avenue SW, Ayers Duplex – known as the Press Houses at 1417 Columbia Street SW, and the Visitor Center, built in 1981, and located on the north corner -east of Opportunity Site Six at 103 Sid Snyder Avenue SW.

“Following the demolition of the Visitor Center and existing parking lots, a replacement parking lot will be constructed on the eastern half of Opportunity Site Six with improved grade and grade at the western end of the existing Capitol Way pedestrian bridge,” indicates the narrative of the project.

The Newhouse Building project would include a parking lot located south of the new building with an access driveway on Columbia Street SW.

The reconfigured parking lot at the Visitor Center site would have three lanes to maintain a continuous walkway between the Capitol Way pedestrian bridge and Columbia Street.

building codes

Olympia Building Manager Erik Jensen reminded the developer that the 2021 Building Code and Washington State Energy Code requirements would be implemented on July 1, 2023. He said the new codes set specific requirements to meet green energy and environmental design.

He noted that the submitted project proposal has an electric vehicle charging parking lot that meets state standards.

“Looks like you’re ahead of the game… Just wanted to note that in case there are any delays,” he said.

The developer plans to apply for planning permission in late November or early December this year.

According to Traber, they have a secure fenced compound on state property, which she says will be licensed with the building.

However, Jensen reminded the developer that any fence over seven feet high would require its own permit.

Proposed schedule for construction:

  • Design/Permit – September 2021 – February 2023
  • Site – January 2023 – November 2024
  • Occupancy – November 2024