- Associated Press - Thursday, June 2, 2016

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - State officials are considering several options for renovating the Docking State Office Building in downtown Topeka, including a complete renovation or reducing the 12-story building to fewer floors.

Sarah Shipman, secretary of the Kansas Department of Administration, told the Joint Committee on State Building Construction Wednesday that the agency has been discussing the renovation options with HTK Architects.

Architect Keith Blackburn told the committee a complete renovation would cost about $84.5 million. Reducing the building to four stories would cost $49.1 million, while three floors would cost $44.7 million and making it a single-story building would cost $30 million, The Topeka Capital-Journal reported (http://bit.ly/1XSg7xQ ). Any option will require additional money for abatement work because the building contains asbestos and lead paint.

The 204 central office employees from the Department of Revenue will be moved out of the building by July 1, with other revenue department employees moved during the spring of 2017, said Frank Burnam, a deputy director in the Office of Facilities and Property Management.

That will leave only Capitol Police and Office of Facilities and Property Management employees in Docking. Over the next year, boxed files covering 10,000 square feet of the building’s basement will be scanned and shredded.

Mark McGivern, director of the Office of Facilities and Property Management, said he has had discussions with potential buyers but hasn’t received an offer for the 59-year-old building.

The Docking building’s future was a source of contention between Gov. Sam Brownback and state lawmakers during the legislative session after the Brownback administration signed a 15-year, $20 million lease-purchase contract to demolish the building and construct a new power plant to replace the existing plant in the Docking Building’s basement.

Lawmakers from both parties said the agreement bypassed legislative oversight and they quickly passed a bill to require legislative approval before the building could be demolished. Brownback vetoed the bill after his administration canceled the power plant deal. An attempt to override the veto fell short in the Senate in March.

The committee took no action after Wednesday’s discussion.

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Information from: The Topeka (Kan.) Capital-Journal, http://www.cjonline.com

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