The larger structure would improve safety, expand workspaces and offer visitors an interactive experience to learn about California government, a report commissioned by the government says.
The current six-story annex has many problems including narrow hallways, limited exits, barriers that restrict access to people with physical disabilities, leaks and its lack of safety features like sprinklers.
“How do you make a people’s house welcoming to all Californians and overcoming some of these design issues?” Assemblyman Ken Cooley, D-Rancho Cordova, was quoted as saying in a Sacramento Bee article.
Cooley says that the annex’s columns and low-ceilings make a renovation of the existing building an unappealing option. “The structure becomes a straightjacket,” he said.
Gov. Jerry Brown said in 2016 that he wanted to address problems with the annex when he included it in a $1.3 billion proposal to remake Sacramento office buildings. “The item also included money for a new natural resources building and another state office building on O Street,” the newspaper reported. “The 20-story resources building is moving forward, with the Department of General Services announcing in December that it had selected a contractor to design it an oversee construction.”
(Turner Construction, partnering with AC Martin, is the contracting team for the P Street natural resources building.)
Cooley is advocating for a new annex as the state is gathering a budget surplus that by law has to be spent on capital projects. Brown’s budget proposal puts the state on a course to fill up its so-called “rainy day” fund by July 1, 2019 and any additional money it collects would have to spent on infrastructure like roads, buildings and prisons.
The CSHQA report does not include specific designs for the structure. However, the designer estimates that replacing the annex would cost $507 million, that moving its underground parking structure would cost $6.4 million and that building a modern visitor center would cost about $30 million.
The firm recommends a 514,000 sq. ft. structure, which is almost 190,000 sq. ft. larger than the current building.