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Department of Administration response for additional information on Docking Building focuses on safety, cost

by Eileen Hawley | Feb 02, 2016

The Department of Administration (DOA) on Jan. 29 responded to a legislative request for additional information relating to the new energy center and possible demolition of the Docking Building.

Documents provided by DOA outlined the numerous studies that have been conducted since 2004 relating to the Docking building and its deteriorating physical condition. Initial planning for demolition of the building and relocation of the energy center began after the Legislature passed Senate Bill 423 in April 2014 authorizing the demolition of Docking and construction of the energy center.

The building’s utilities including the domestic water system, HVAC, electrical distribution, air handling system, elevators, fire alarm and other systems, have exceeded their useful life and need to be replaced.

According to the Alvarez & Marsal study commissioned by the Legislature, DOA “seized an opportunity” to construct a new, more efficient energy center while moving state agencies into other downtown Topeka locations.

“The A&M report confirms that our actions to demolish the building help reduce the size and scope of state government by limiting the state’s role as landlord,” said acting Secretary of Administration Sarah Shipman. “In addition, relocating employees into previously vacant private buildings in downtown Topeka helps the local economy while also providing a safer workplace for our state employees.”

DOA considered several options related to the Docking building, taking into account safety, schedule and cost. Demolishing Docking to three floors would cost $42 million; a single floor, $26 million; and a partial floor, $24 million.

After numerous presentations in meetings with legislators and committees dating to early 2014, including briefings on leases for the relocation of employees, as well as updates on the status of request for proposals for the construction of the energy center, the agency selected a total demolition of the building and relocation of the energy center at a cost of $17.7 million.

In addition, rather than engaging in the more expensive process of issuing bonds, DOA partnered with the Kansas Development Finance Authority to secure a municipal lease to finance the construction of the Energy Center. The very favorable interest rate of 2.32 per cent ensures stability in budgeting. DOA believes the reduction in expenses from operating Docking, coupled with the utility savings, will cover the cost of the lease payments requiring no additional expenditures from the State General Fund.

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