Dept. of Administration unveils options for Docking building

Capitol Bureau

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – On Monday, lawmakers got an idea of how much it might cost taxpayers to repair the Docking State Office Building.

The Docking building has been in the Topeka skyline for 62 years, but now much of it sits empty.

The Kansas Department of Administration presented four options to the Senate Ways and Means Committee.

Two main options released by the department are to renovate the entire building or to demolish everything above the third floor and add on three newly constructed floors.

In each plan, architects said they tried to keep the historic value of the building as well and keep the power plant in the basement that serves the Capitol complex.

Officials said the construction could let government agencies that are split up in different buildings consolidate in Docking. That could include the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.

Two of the four total proposals provide two floors to the department for lab work, an upgrade officials say is desperately needed.

Each plan would cost over $100 million, and adding the KDHE labs could cost an additional $40 million or more.

“What would the yearly cost be to the general fund budget to bond that, and will it give us the relief that I think a lot of us say that we need into getting more of our agency people back into a more productive concentrated environment,” said Manhattan Senator Tom Hawk.

The plans will head to the Joint Committee on State Building Construction, where lawmakers will recommend which option if any of them, that they prefer.

Even though it wasn’t presented as an option, some lawmakers could choose that demolishing the building may be the best solution.

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