Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Lawmakers Tour Docking for Look at Challenges

Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Lawmakers Tour Docking for Look at Challenges

Article excerpt

Kansas lawmakers touring the underbelly of the Docking State Office Building got a glimpse Monday into the room where unused IT equipment used to be hidden away.

A few pieces of cardboard are all that remain.

The senators and representatives were gathering information about the condition and limitations of the mostly vacant building before considering its future. Budget

restrictions that were put in place to prevent destruction of the building under former Gov. Sam Brownback still block the Department of Administration from making plans to utilize empty space.

“We are looking forward to working with the Legislature,” said Samir Arif, spokesman for the Department of Administration.

Aside from an underground power plant, the building is home to Capitol Police headquarters and a small leftover unit of the Revenue Department, which left two years ago.

Some of the space is used for storage, such as an array of filing cabinets, desk chairs and other excess office equipment in the former Taxpayer Assistance Center.

Doors were open to the empty room in the basement that formerly held $10 million worth of computer equipment. In a 2017 tour of the building, Arif’s predecessor, John Milburn, wouldn’t allow legislators to see the equipment, which went into storage after the Brownback administration scrapped plans for a cloud computing system. Gov. Laura Kelly’s administration donated the equipment to Kansas State University earlier this year.

Also below ground, four massive boilers burn diesel or natural gas at 2,400 degrees. The unit provides warmth for the Statehouse and other buildings in the Capitol complex.

Jared Self, who has worked in the maintenance shop since 1990, said in terms of BTUs, the boilers produce 30,000 pounds per hour.

“That’s a substantial amount of steam,” Self said.

On the ground floor, the 70 Capitol Police employees are less cramped as the department expands its footprint from 2,200 to 6,200 square feet. …

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