Politics blog

State selects Sellen/ZGF as design team for new State Patrol building

OlympianMarch 28, 2014 

This post has been updated to include additional photos and comments from the winning design team.

A state selection panel chose Sellen Construction Co. of Seattle and ZGF Architects of Portland as the design team for a new State Patrol building on Friday. The team was one of three bidding for the $82 million project that would be a highly energy-efficient structure  and first new major building on the west Capitol Campus in more than 50 years.

Due to a legislative fight between the House and Senate the state will only be able to move forward with the first $13 million phase – for pre-design and potentially site preparation.

The Department of Enterprise Services announced the decision by its special panel of reviewers that included government officials, architects and construction experts. 

Enterprise Services’ spokesman Curt Hart said the intent is to negotiate a contract with Sellen and ZGF for the next step of the project. Undecided is whether to use a portion of the $13 million to demolish an office building and parking garage now on the project site.

The new structure would be built at Capitol Way and 11th Avenue on the north edge of the Capitol Campus in Olympia and let the Patrol move out of the General Administration Building, which is deteriorating and may be seismically vulnerable, according to state-paid consultants' reports.

The two other design teams – one included Hoffman Construction of Portland, Belay Architecture of Tacoma and GBD Architects of Portland; the other included Mortenson Construction Co. of Minneapolis and SRG Partnership of Portland – can appeal the selection once the state announces its intent to award a presdesign contract. That is expected within 60 days, Hart said.

Scott Redman, president for Sellen Construction, said members of the team including architects in ZGF’s Seattle office, were thrilled to be selected. The same team had designed Federal Center South, an energy efficient structure for the Army Corps of Engineers located on the Duwamish Waterway in 2009.

“I think we had the benefit of a design team we have worked with before on similar projects,’’ Redman said, describing an effort to “to push the envelope on how to create a really efficient building” on a budget.

He said the design tried to highlight three elements – from energy efficiency to creating “a great link from the Capitol Campus to Olympia itself, so a lot of thought went into how does that work with pedestrian flow and how does it work on all sides.’’ The third piece was designing a flexible work space.

Redman identified several elements meant to tie the city, building and campus together including a “front porch” plaza on the south side facing the World War II memorial. There also is a second front door on the north side of the structure facing downtown.

“All of it under this sort of made in Washington umbrella, where we are utilizing local firms and local supplier for the products,’’ Redman added.

Enterprise Services announced its decision in a press release that said, in part:

“I want to thank all the teams for their highly creative proposals,” said Enterprise Services Director Chris Liu.  “We are excited to move forward with a design for an energy efficient building that fits within the character of our historic campus while also connecting the state with downtown Olympia.” The 1063 Block Replacement Project was initiated by the 2013 Legislature and calls for the design and construction of a 200,000 to 225,000 square-foot state office building at 1063 Capitol Way S. in Olympia. The new building will house the Washington State Patrol and replace the existing state-owned building – which once housed a children’s museum – as well as a two-story parking garage. Enterprise Services is using a $13 million legislative appropriation to pay for the design of the building as well as other related costs. As Enterprise Services moves forward with negotiations with the apparent successful design team, the administration is considering a range of options for next steps in the project. The other two teams competing have the ability to appeal the decision following the department’s issuance of a notice of intent to award a contract, which will be no more than 60 days from today. A final contract will likely be in place by July 1, 2014. Public comments about the project can be submitted to Enterprise Services by using the department’s electronic mailbox at: 1063BlockProject@des.wa.gov.  
Republican Sen. Jim Honeyford of Sunnyside sought to kill the project in the just concluded legislative session. He cited the Legislature's previous errors in estimating financing costs for the project. Costs for agency tenants is now expected to exceed the $26 per square foot cap set in the 2013-15 biennial capital budget, which gave the original authorization for the project. 

Honeyford said he thinks the state is within its rights to move ahead on predesign but he questioned whether that was wise under the circumstances.

“I think they should totally reexamine what they are doing – including the question, is it essential that the State Patrol be on the campus,’’ Honeyford said.

Honeyford added that the State Patrol chief could keep an office near the Capitol for his staff and some top staffers but put most of the agency staff in another location such as Tumwater, which he thinks would be cheaper.

The senator did not argue whether the state has authority to move ahead with design work and said he sees no restriction on using the 13 million. But he said: “I really believe they would be foolish to tear down a building and not have a plan to replace it. I would hope the predesign would be a full predesign that reveals the flaws in the financing package and the costs.”

House Capital Budget Committee chairman Hans Dunshee, D-Snohomish, was the force behind the project. He’d offered it last year as a way to get the GA building emptied of tenants as one step in a years-long campaign to get it demolished. 

Dunshee said that it is not unusual to design a building without having authorization in place for financing. “We do design one biennia, and construction the next one,’’ he said. 

Dunshee also said it is important to move the project ahead and that an Office of Financial Management assessment showed the state would save $750 million over 75 years compared to leasing a typical office building from the private sector.

“It’s a leading edge building that will save taxpayers significant amounts of money and provide better working conditions for our employees, which will make them more productive,’’  Dunshee said.

Here are two additional views of the Sellen concept, which the state released Friday: 



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