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Building 3 renovations at Capitol back on track

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- With three major projects going up, and with Lottery revenues going down, the governor's budget bill directs $6 million of tax revenue to the Department of Administration for capital improvements, Secretary Ross Taylor said Thursday.

That includes starting the long-delayed renovation of Building 3 in the Capitol Complex, Taylor told the House Finance Committee.

"Hopefully, if not by the end of the year, by the start of next year, you will see work going on in that building," he said.

Opened in 1951, and informally known as the DMV building, the eight-story Building 3 was originally approved for renovation in 2008, with a 2010 completion date.

The project was delayed, first when it took much longer than expected to relocate state employees housed in Building 3 to leased office space around Charleston, and again in 2011, when bids for the renovations came in about $6 million higher than the $27 million budgeted.

"Unfortunately, that was about the time the state started going through some economic bad times," Taylor said.

He said the department has been working with architects and planners to scale back the design, which originally included conference rooms with "telepresence" technology featuring floor-to-ceiling video screens, along with a meeting hall and kitchen capable of hosting dinners and receptions.

"It may not be quite the elaborate building that was anticipated," Taylor said of the new design, which should go out to bid this summer.

Also, construction of a $17.2 million state office building in Fairmont is underway, with a January 2015 completion date, and construction of a Clarksburg state office building is set to begin in the spring.

The department normally spends about $40 million a year to construct and renovate state buildings, but is increasing that to about $50 million in the 2014-15 budget year to accommodate the three major office projects, he said.

In recent years, such building projects have been funded through state Lottery profits, but Lottery revenues have been declining since 2009, requiring a $6 million infusion of tax dollars in the proposed 2014-15 budget bill to fund the capital improvements budget.

"That pool of money has not been sufficient to fund all the projects that need to be done on state-owned buildings," Taylor said of the Lottery revenue.

Taylor said the department is also looking at partially funding the Building 3 renovation through a bond issue, although the bond amount would be limited, based on future lease payments by agencies that will be housed in the building.

Reach Phil Kabler at philk@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1220.


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