Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Judicial Center Needs Upgrade ; Official: 'Next Docking' Requires $2.5M in Maintenance

Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Judicial Center Needs Upgrade ; Official: 'Next Docking' Requires $2.5M in Maintenance

Article excerpt

The Kansas Judicial Center in Topeka stands as the next building maintenance nightmare with plumbing, window, roof and security problems necessitating infusion by lawmakers of $2.5 million for repairs, a state official said Friday.

The structure serving members of the Kansas Supreme Court and Kansas Court of Appeals since it opened in 1978 requires far more work than can be accommodated with $70,000 allotted annually for upkeep by the Kansas Legislature.

"The Judicial Center is our next Docking, if we don't do anything about it," said Mark McGivern, director of facilities management with the Kansas Department of Administration. "You can't do anything for $70,000. The little drips they give us don't do any good. We've got to get a little different thinking out of our Legislature."

He said judicial branch leaders and state building administrators intend to ask the 2016 Legislature for an appropriation to begin rectifying maintenance shortcomings at the Judicial Center.

McGivern said the Brownback administration is moving ahead with plans to render the Docking State Office Building, which is adjacent to the Statehouse and Judicial Center, an empty relic by this time next year. Despite heartburn by folks interested in retaining the office landmark, state agency employees are slowly transitioning to new locations in Topeka.

McGivern shared a section of rusted, leaking water pipe removed from Docking with community participants on the two-day Expedition Topeka tour focusing on redevelopment activity in the city's core. It clearly illustrated the essence of maintenance neglect, he said.

"That piece of water line was taken from the ninth floor of Docking State Office Building shortly after we had a complaint we had worms coming out of our water fountain in the basement," he said at the Capitol meeting. "That is indicative of the condition of the water pipes in the building."

In December 2014, multiple floors of the building in the 900 block of S.W. Harrison were treated for bedbugs. Fleas were discovered in January, adding to demands for pest control.

McGivern said a fire in Docking a decade ago demonstrated the electrical system needed to be replaced. …

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