TOPEKA (KSNT) – Construction workers could be seen scaling the south side of Topeka’s Docking State Office building earlier this week, beginning a process that has been in discussion for years.
The 14-story building located at 915 Southwest Harrison St. has been nestled in the heart of the Capital City of Kansas for more than 60 years, making it one of the oldest state workplaces. Work on the building began by Hutton Corporation in January 2023 as plans that had been hotly debated for years were finally put into action despite local protests. Soon, the building will look quite different compared to when the work is expected to wrap up in the summer of 2025.
KSNT 27 News spoke with Samir Arif with the Kansas Department of Administration about what Topekans can expect to see as work on on the Docking Building progresses.
Arif says some elements of the old building, such as limestone, granite and marble, will be carefully removed and refurbished with the purpose of reusing them in the re-construction of the Docking Building. Other salvaged limestone panels may be used elsewhere as exterior landscaping components for the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.
The state’s new design of the Docking Building aims to salvage many of the old features that helped make it noteworthy. Plans shared with KSNT 27 News show the new look of the Docking Building will focus on making it a more open and transparent space and emphasizes the view of the nearby Kansas Statehouse. This will result in a reduction in height for the building as it drops down to only three stories.
Arif says the building, once finished, will house state agency offices, historical and cultural exhibits, conference meeting space, a rooftop terrace and other amenities for both visitors and state employees. The Docking Building will house a variety of new programs including:
- Public lobby and exhibit spaces
- Conference and training center
- State agency office space
- Health clinic or other state service agencies
- Shared meeting rooms
- Wellness and personal health support rooms
- Fitness center and classroom
- Cafe, market and healthy food venue
- Interactive state exhibit commons
The foundation and sub-levels of the Docking Building will largely be left as they are with only minor changes. The basement will still house the central utility plant, campus facility maintenance operations and central warehouse. Arif says extensive preparations have been made to ensure the operations of the boiler system in the basement continues uninterrupted.
The Docking Building was built in 1957 at a cost of $9 million to accommodate 2,600 state employees. The building spans 532,592 gross square feet with more than 366,000 feet of office space. It was renamed after Robert B. Docking, the 38th governor of Kansas, in 1987.
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