New Newhouse Building is planned for Capitol Campus

Iconic Visitor Center building will be demolished to make room


The State Department of Enterprise Services (DES), which handles a multi-phased project on the Capitol Campus, unveiled the replacement plan for the Irving R. Newhouse Building during the presubmission hearing held yesterday at the Olympia Site Plan Review Committee meeting.

The Newhouse Building replacement is a part of the DES' Legislative Campus Modernization (LCM) project.

DES, through architecture firm Miller Hull Partnership, described the project to include the demolition of some structures and the replacement of a 60,000-square-foot, four-story new office building that is in the State Capitol Campus on three parcels, referred to as Opportunity Site Six.

The Newhouse Building, constructed in 1934, is at 215 Sid Snyder Avenue SW. The project, comprised of two blocks at the West Capitol Campus, is bounded by Sid Snyder Avenue SW to the north, Capitol Way South to the east, 15th Avenue SW to the south and Water Street to the west.

"The existing Newhouse Building is being demolished with some salvage happening to that existing structure. There are life safety issues there; hence the replacement of that building," Christine Traber of Miller Hull said at the hearing.

The existing Newhouse Building houses Senate member offices, support functions, caucus functions, the Senate Page Room, and the Joint Senate House Page School. After demolition, the replacement Newhouse Building will be built on the west half of Opportunity Site Six.

The Newhouse Building replacement ground floor will house Senate security, a public meeting room, the joint legislative Page School and auxiliary page room, and a Legislative Services training room. There would be space for Legislative Services on the second floor, including a photo and video suite, Legislative Office Functions, Ethics and Human Resources and Senate Member Offices. The third floor is devoted to Senate member offices and support functions, while the fourth floor is dedicated to caucus offices and support functions.

Additional demolition

Other structures to be demolished are the Carlyon House at 201 Sid Snyder Avenue SW, Ayers Duplex – known as the Press Houses at 1417 Columbia Street SW, and Visitor Center, built in 1981, and located on the northeast corner of Opportunity Site Six at 103 Sid Snyder Avenue SW.

"After demolition of the Visitor Center and existing parking lots, replacement parking will be built on the east half of Opportunity Site Six with improved slope and grading at the western terminus of the existing Capitol Way Pedestrian Bridge," the project narrative stated.

The Newhouse Building project would have a parking lot located south of the new building with one access driveway on Columbia Street SW.

The reconfigured parking lot on the Visitor Center site would have three driveways to retain a continuous walkway between the Capitol Way pedestrian bridge and Columbia Street.

Building codes

Olympia building official Erik Jensen reminded the developer that the 2021 building code and Washington State Energy Code requirements would be implemented on July 1, 2023. He said the new codes set specific requirements to meet green energy and environmental design.

He noted that the proposed project submitted has electric-vehicle charging parking, complying with the state standards. 

"It looks like you are ahead of the game…I just wanted to note that in case there are any delays," he said.

The developer plans to apply for a building permit at the end of November or early December this year.

According to Traber, they have a fenced secure enclosure on state property, which she believed will be permitted with the building.

However, Jensen reminded the developer that any fencing over seven feet tall would require its own permit. 

Proposed schedule for construction:

  • Design/permitting – September 2021 – February 2023
  • Construction – January 2023 – November 2024
  • Occupancy – November 2024


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  • Southsoundguy

    Please publish designs when they become available. I’m curious to see what the building will look like.

    Friday, July 22, 2022 Report this

  • BobJacobs

    New buildings on the capitol campus should be dignified in appearance, not look like ordinary office buildings. They should complement the original "capital group" of buildings, which represent our state government and (one hopes) the high ideals that it embodies.

    In my opinion, the Enterprise Services building on Jefferson Street is such a building. The Helen Sommers building is not.

    Bob Jacobs

    Saturday, July 23, 2022 Report this