New work for Old Capitol

$600,000 budgeted to find and repair water damage

ahobbs@theolympian.comJanuary 23, 2014 

The historic Old Capitol Building in downtown Olympia will undergo more repairs this year to address water damage.

Portland architect Peter Meijer is overseeing this month’s examination of the 122-year-old building, now the home of the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction, and will eventually submit a report that determines the scope of future work.

Meijer and his team recently completed a 3-D scan of the building’s exterior to assess its general condition. Meijer is looking for water leaks and structural deficiencies in the thick sandstone. Also underway is a window-by-window analysis for any leaks or damage.

Gutters regularly become clogged and contribute to water leaks, Meijer said Wednesday, but few problems had been found so far.

The state has allocated $600,000, said Jim Erskine, spokesman for the Department of Enterprise Services (DES). The goal is to finish the project this summer.

Sandstone buildings need an ongoing cycle of maintenance in Western Washington’s wet climate. In 2006 and 2007, the state made repairs to the building’s exterior and roof at a cost of about $358,000, Erskine said.

As with any historic buildings, the state’s priority is to renovate with as many original materials as possible.

“We want to preserve the historic integrity in every regard,” said Marygrace Jennings, cultural resources manager for DES.

Bordering the east side of Sylvester Park, the Old Capitol Building opened in 1892. The site was originally built as the Thurston County Courthouse, and served as the state Capitol from 1905 to 1928.

Andy Hobbs: 360-704-6869 ahobbs@theolympian.com

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