Kan. lawmakers weigh alternatives for Docking renovation, new KDHE lab

The Joint Committee on State Building Construction, chaired by Rep. Marty Long, considers proposals for a renovation of the Docking State Office Building and a new KDHE laboratory. Their recommendation will be passed along to the State Finance Council for final approval. (Noah Taborda/Kansas Reflector)
The Joint Committee on Condition Creating Development, chaired by Rep. Marty Long, considers proposals for a renovation of the Docking Condition Place of work Building and a new KDHE laboratory. Their recommendation will be passed along to the Point out Finance Council for closing approval. (Noah Taborda/Kansas Reflector)

By NOAH TABORDA
Kansas Reflector

TOPEKA — Kansas legislators Tuesday regarded as two proposals for what
to do with the extensive-neglected Docking Point out Workplace Constructing.

Yrs of neglect and a motivation by
former Gov. Sam Brownback to demolish the 62-12 months-previous sophisticated adjacent
to the Statehouse resulted in health hazards and deteriorating insides. Earlier this calendar year, lawmakers authorized up to $120 million in bonds to renovate the mostly vacant constructing.

The first choice offered to
legislators on the Joint Committee on Point out Building Design, led
by Rep. Marty Lengthy, R-Ulysses, would be to renovate the entire 14-story
constructing building, which would take until 2024 and value about $127
million. The second option would lower the sizing to 3 floors and
then incorporate a few new flooring on top of the framework.

The 2nd option would be about
$15 million much less expensive over-all and offer probable cost financial savings on making
servicing and utilities. Nevertheless, it would limit out there space and
would be completed in 2025.

“I’ve had a great deal of visits with
business enterprise house owners, the Chamber of Commerce, the Town of Topeka, close to
this full advancement and the sensation I get is that we want to decrease
the dimensions of the Docking developing,” stated Rep. John Alcala, D-Topeka,
whose district features the developing web site. “It’s extra price effective.
We’ll be ready to market place it and be equipped to fill it.”

Quite a few lawmakers on the committee
indicated an first preference toward the more compact making, while
some were worried about historical preservation or house for greater
agencies. Tied into this choice is a debate about likely web sites for a
new, individual Kansas Department of Wellness and Ecosystem lab.

Administration secretary DeAngela Burns-Wallace says significant funding for the Docking renovation project could come through American Rescue Plan Act funds, although some parts of the plan would not be allowable expenses. (Noah Taborda/Kansas Reflector)
Administration secretary DeAngela Burns-Wallace claims sizeable funding for the Docking renovation venture could arrive by way of American Rescue Strategy Act cash, despite the fact that some components of the approach would not be allowable expenses. (Noah Taborda/Kansas Reflector)

Section of Administration
secretary DeAngela Burns-Wallace noted the scaled-down setting up would
incorporate added party and coaching house in the a few new flooring,
which could verify useful for condition organizations. During the COVID-19
pandemic, the lack of available place for committee hearings with lots of
people wishing to testify or other substantial gatherings became ever more
apparent.

“Having a much larger, dynamic meeting
and instruction space in this Capitol Complex is vital to our
operational have to have,” Burns-Wallace claimed. “I have an agency that has near
to 500 employees. There’s no area for me to bring additional than a third of
my company jointly without having becoming exterior suitable now.”

Burns-Wallace stated up to 50% of
the renovation expenditures could be lined by federal pandemic support, but some
areas of the project may possibly not be allowable bills. The condition need to strategy
how to use these federal funds by 2024 and expend the funds by 2026.

Both of those choices suit that timeline,
but delays could toss a wrench into that system. Continue to, legislators were
fascinated in using these resources for the Docking making and the
relocation of the KDHE laboratory from Forbes Industry airport grounds
south of Topeka.

Legislators also set aside $55
million in bonds for the lab in the spending budget earlier this calendar year, which Gov.
Laura Kelly’s administration experienced hoped would be housed in the
Docking making.

The possibilities that gained approval
from KDHE would involve both moving the lab to a parking ton adjacent
to the condition Capitol complicated or the Kansas Neurological Institute
grounds in southwest Topeka. Getting or leasing land is also an
solution but would incur extra fees and delays.

The committee is envisioned to make a
advice to the Condition Finance Council on both of those the Docking and
KDHE proposals at a conference upcoming thirty day period.

“In regard to the Docking
constructing, it appears to be to be intertwined relatively with the determination we make
on the KDHE lab also,” Prolonged reported. “The State Finance Council will make a
selection on both of those at the same time, and I consider there’s a lot of points
up in the air with both equally doing work collectively and (American Rescue Plan Act)
funds. There is a whole lot of unidentified.”

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