Politics & Government

New state office building set to open June 1

State employees filtered out of the new state office building on Sower Boulevard in Frankfort. Members of the Kentucky Department of Education and other cabinets will be moving to the new building beginning in June.
State employees filtered out of the new state office building on Sower Boulevard in Frankfort. Members of the Kentucky Department of Education and other cabinets will be moving to the new building beginning in June.

Hundreds of state workers this week are getting a tour of their new workspace — The 300 Building, a five-story, 371,160-square-foot structure with amenities such as filtered water fountains, much natural lighting and beautiful outdoor views.

Employees will begin moving into the new office building on June 1. It sits atop one of the bluffs at 300 Sower Boulevard off the East-West Connector, offering views from the back of the top floor that include a water tower in Lawrenceburg, about 14 miles away.

Andy Casebier, director of the division of engineering and contract administration in the state Finance and Administration Cabinet, said all but three of the 1,457 employees who will work in the building will have outside views.

The building will house employees for the Energy and Environment Cabinet, the Education and Workforce Development Cabinet and the state Department of Education.

They now work in the Fair Oaks complex near downtown Frankfort or the Capital Plaza Tower. The state lost its lease at Fair Oaks and the 26-story tower with 750 to 800 employees will soon be deemed surplus property. It is to be empty by December. The state is mulling the building’s future, with options ranging from selling the tower to razing it and then selling the land.

The state will lease The 300 Building for 35 years with CRM/DW Wilburn LLC, a building management company in Lexington.

Casebier said the building cost between $70 million and $80 million to build. The Finance Cabinet declined to immediately provide information about how much the lease will cost.

Site work began in March 2015 on the nearly 34-acre property.

The building will include space on the first floor for a food court, which also will be available to employees working in other state office buildings on Sower Boulevard.

The most-often-talked-about feature in the building is a wall on the first floor made up of horizontal wooden slats. It cost $25,000.

Finance Cabinet spokeswoman Pamela Trautner said the developer decided to install the feature wall and that it did not affect the lease price.

The building is LEED Certified, meaning it is designed for a 19 to 26 percent reduction in utility expenditures compared to existing offices.

A large number of energy efficiency and sustainability items are in the building, including natural day lighting, LED fixtures, high-efficiency mechanical equipment and low-flow plumbing.

Casebier said the most popular item among state workers appear to be the filtered water fountains.

Other amenities include a one-mile walking trail around the building, a health clinic and five inclement weather shelters in the parking lot to provide temporary protection for employees walking to and from the building.

The building is arranged in a series of “neighborhoods” with work stations of about 64 square feet and some private offices. “Neighborhoods” are near open collaboration space and conference rooms.

There are small locker spaces at work stations and pull-out chairs for visitors.

State workers Thursday touring the new building seemed impressed.

“It is a beautiful building,” said Robin Kinney, associate commissioner of the Department of Education.

About 11,000 people work for the executive branch of state government in Franklin County.

Jack Brammer: (502) 227-1198, @BGPolitics

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