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August 15, 2022

BNBuilders gets GC/CM contract to rehab 2 state Capitol buildings

Journal Construction Editor

Images from state documents [enlarge]
The Pritchard Building was designed by architect Paul Thiry for the Washington State Library.

The state has awarded a general contractor/construction manager contract to BNBuilders to rehabilitate and add to the Joel M. Pritchard and John L. O'Brien buildings on the Capitol campus in Olympia.

While the contract amount has yet to be negotiated, the maximum allowable construction cost is $68.8 million for the Pritchard Building and $2.8 million for the O'Brien Building. If the state and BNB can't work out an agreeable construction cost, the state could chose to negotiate with one of the other two shortlisted firms: Clark Construction Group or Hoffman Construction Co.

DLR Group is the project architect and will work with BNB and the state throughout the design and construction phases. BNB will also provide preconstruction services.

The existing 55,585-square-foot Pritchard Building was designed by architect Paul Thiry for the Washington State Library and was finished in 1958. The library was vacated in 2001 and is now occupied by the Legislative Code Reviser, Legislative Support Services and Legislative Service Center. State documents note that the space has significant health, life safety, operational and functional deficiencies. The documents also state that 60% of the building is unoccupied because the floor-to-floor heights in the book stacks, which are over half the building, can't accommodate offices.

The proposed expansion of the building will add around 77,000 square feet, and about 35 members of the House of Representatives and staff will relocate here from the O'Brien Building. Documents indicate the library stacks will be replaced with a three-story addition that extends the building 234 feet to the east. The historic reading room will be preserved.

About 77,000 square feet will be added to the Pritchard Building.

The addition will be a steel-frame structure that will double as a seismic brace for the existing reading room. Also, plans indicate the substructure will be reinforced with auger-cast piles and grade beams. Finally, the building's Wilkeson sandstone facade cladding will be restored.

The 100,700-square-foot O'Brien Building was designed by architect Joseph Wohleb and originally called the Transportation Building. This four-story building was funded by the federal Project Works Administration and originally housed the state Highways Department and other agencies. In 1962, interiors were remodeled, occupancy changed, and it was renamed the Public Health Building.

The O'Brien Building was significantly remodeled a second time in 1970 to serve as offices for the House of Representatives. The proposed renovation will combine some existing offices on floors three and four to create more appropriately sized offices for 29 House of Representative members and staff. Relocating the 35 House members and staff to the Pritchard Building will further alleviate overcrowding in the O'Brien Building.

Construction is expected to start in April 2024 and reach substantial completion in August 2025. The state anticipates final acceptance of the project in December 2025.

The project is funded for design in the 2021-2023 biennium, with construction funding anticipated in the 2023-2025 biennium.


Benjamin Minnick can be reached by email or by phone at (206) 622-8272.

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