Welcome to the Capitol Preservation Board Blog on the Executive Office Building.

With the Utah State Capitol Base Isolation and Renovation complete the Board has requested the Executive Director to move forward with studying phase five of the master plan – The Executive Office Building.

This blog will provide current information on the study as it progresses.

Friday, May 29, 2009


The final day of the workshop began with a discussion of cost. The project definition team discussed the cost magnitudes associated with each of the schemes which the previous two workshop days identified as possible alternatives. These cost estimates were very soft and provided a general understanding of cost. These estimates allowed the working group to discuss the place value of the Capitol Campus. During the discussion the concept that the Capitol Campus is an island within a neighborhood continued to be revisited. It was clear that every individual at the table felt strongly that the campus identity had to be maintained and that while the option 1 – Restore was the least expensive option presented it was not an acceptable solution because it did not address the compatibility and materiality of the Capitol Campus as place. This was also true with regard to the option 1b – Restore with a modern skin which was only an incremental increase from a concrete exterior panel to a 3 cm granite panel for the exterior enclosure.

The most interesting comparison was between option 1c – Restore with a classical skin and the option 3 – New building. This discussion recognized the cost increase from 3 cm stone panels in option 1b to cubic stone elements on the option 1c due to the classical architecture applied to the existing building. What was surprising was the relative closeness in the projected cost of option 3 to that of option 1c. It was also the best comparison of the cost differential between remodeling and building a new building which was approximately 8% increase based upon the provided numbers. This was attributed to the cost of structure and foundations. Yet it was clear that with the new building operational efficiency was increased and the sense of place was preserved.

Option 2 – Remodel and add additional space was the most expensive option of the five that were studied. This had to do with the addition of 150,000 GSF to the existing 171,000 GSF of the current state office building. On top of that it was also the only scheme that would have required additional parking of approximately 150 cars which is a major impact to the site as well as the cost.

After much discussion the unanimous decision that was reached was to proceed from this point only with option 3 – New building. The reasons provided were all focused around three very important concepts which were:
1. Context – the Capitol Preservation Board with the development of the Senate and House buildings and central plaza directly behind the restored capitol has developed a sense of place that no one wanted to see changed. In fact everyone wanted to see this sense of place, the island if you will reinforced. Materials, proportion, height and classical details were all critical to the accomplishment of the context of place. It was felt that using the bones of the existing building would severely limit the ability to maintain and reinforce the sense of place that is so important.
2. Space utilization – the existing building has a narrow floor plate that is very difficult to work around. The need of the modern working environment needs to be flexible to allow for all the demands that are placed upon the state. To maintain a facility that does not provide for the proper use of space limits in the long term the efficiency of the state. It was felt that the money would be better spent providing a more flexible open office environment in a new building than trying to fit functions into a non flexible existing frame.
3. The long view – the group recognized that a new building will be more difficult to fund during the current economic environment that we find ourselves in today. However, they all agreed that it is better to look to the future and to do the right thing for the long view rather than be short sighted and rush to do that which will improve the visual aesthetics of the campus will limit for the long run the usefulness of the building. It was better to build for 100 years than to rush the process. With that said they all want to see the process continue and not lose momentum as the state works through the economic issues.

Based upon this discuss without asking them to review the current CPB master plan they reconfirmed that it should in fact be completed.

During further discussion the workshop group did want to see the north side of the site improved. The concept of the pond and the axial termination was very important to them to retain and complete the context and sense of place that is found on Capitol Hill.

With this recommendation made they suggested that the project definition team continue to study a new building that would contain and achieve the following:
1. Building size – the site caring capacity is limited by parking and land. The group felt that over building was not as important as building the right size for the site, and that maximizing the square footage was less important. The following guidelines were provided that the new building should be no:
a. Longer than that of the capitol in the east west direction.
b. Wider than the base of the capitol in the north south direction
c. Taller than four stories in height above the plaza, in order to act as a backdrop to the plaza and to provide the proper level of containment for the plaza.
2. Classical Design – the group directed the project definition team to study a classical ionic design that would be compatible in material and aesthesis with the campus.
3. Program – must include at a minimum:
a. Flexible open office space
b. 200 to 300 seat auditorium
c. Technology such a video conference rooms
d. Executive Directors office suite/meeting space
e. Parking for Executive Directors
4. Energy Efficiency – conform to the new LEED standards

In addition to these items the workshop group suggested that the executive director begin to develop improvement projects to take care of several critical and important problems associated with the exiting building. These included but were not limited to:
1. Improved energy – study all energy related savings options. Those that have a pay back of 5 to 7 years should be advanced and completed. Projects beyond 10 years should not be considered since the life of the building should not be expected to go beyond that time frame.
2. Electric switch gear – it was discovered in the workshop that the SOB is in need of new switch gear to avoid a failure.
3. Cladding restraint system – the exiting concrete panels on the exterior of the state office building need to be restrained from falling during an earthquake. A simple strap to catch and hold the panel would be advisable.
4. Fire dampers – several life safety issues exist and fire dampers would solve some of those.
5. Microwave antennas – the microwave system needs to have the fiber look completed and the permanent relocation of the north antenna moved to the traffic operations center.
6. DFCM relationship – work closely with DFCM to move organizations off the hill so that relocation costs of rental space are kept to a minimum.

Master plan recommendations were also discussed and included:
1. A shuttle system from the campus to the inter-modal hub in SLC.
2. A van pool from the capitol the Fair Park during session for employees
3. Van Pool and Car Pool reserved parking stalls near entries – encourage more van/car pooling and less individual cars
4. Investigate once again charging employees and public for parking similar to the university.

This was an excellent workshop. A tremendous amount good work came out of it. Many ideas were clearly discussed and resolved. The executive director would like to thank the workshop group made up of private citizens, state employees, members of the preservation and maintenance subcommittee and member of the budget and board operations subcommittee, who all participated openly and shared their ideas. Also to the project definition team member which included architects, engineers and estimates who provide a great amount of information and lead the discussions without a preconceived outcome. Thank you all.
Over the next several weeks the project definition team and the executive director will prepare information that will be presented to the subcommittee and then ultimately to the board for their discussion and approval.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009


Day two focused upon options. These options covered the three primary areas which are:
1. Restore the Existing Building
a. Historic Skin
b. New Energy efficient Skin
c. New Compatible Skin that uses the design guidelines for new building
2. Remodel existing structure with an addition
a. Three story addition on the south and north
b. Four story addition on the south and north
c. Phase additions to the existing building
3. Demolish and Build a new building
4. Build a new modern building in the hillside using the design guidelines for new building and demolish the existing building.

Each of the options was judged by the workshop team based upon the prioritization of the design guidelines which were voted upon earlier. These include:
1. Materials (78)
2. Energy & sustainability (46)
3. Operational Continuity (41)
4. Subservience (38)
5. Symmetry of Plan (36)
6. Windows (35)
7. Classical Orders (33)
8. Mass & Volume (32)
9. Axis (25)
10. Column (25)
11. Balustrade (24)
12. Symmetry of Elevation (23)
13. Proportion (22)
14. Rhythm (21)
15. Perstyle (19)
16. Floor Alignment (19)
17. Human Scale (14)

Throughout the discussion of each option the working group evaluated the options based upon the prioritized list of design guidelines. At the end of the day the following direction was provided to the design team.
1. Proceed with the following options for future review and discussion
a. For budget purposes only study the restore with new energy effect skin and compatible materials. This is not a preferred option just a base line.
b. Study the application of a historically detailed skin on the existing building without expansion.
c. Expand the existing building with new space located on the north and the south. Expansion may be as large as 150,000 GSF. For every 1,000 GSF of new office space add one parking stall.
d. Demolish the existing building and study the development of a 180,000 GSF new building.
e. Studies the options of a new modern building designed using the guidelines for new buildings but set it back into the north hill, then demolish the existing building.
2. provide cost data
3. Develop a new master plan with whatever options seams to be the preferred after study.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009


During the first day of the workshop on the State Office Building the project definition team provided their findings to the working group. These findings are as follows:

Structural Issues – Summary of Primary Issues

-The original State Office Building was designed in 1959. The design did not deliberately address seismic loading.
-Structural Renovation in the early 1990’s included the addition of significant reinforcement to the existing steel frame.
-Analysis of the retrofitted building indicates that its performance is significantly improved over the original design. However, the expected seismic performance of the steel frame in consideration of a large, rare seismic event is marginal.
-Project seismic drifts are large and will result in significant nonstructural damage and potential instabilities at the lower levels.
-Cladding and cladding attachments will likely fail even for a small quake resulting in cladding falling from the building.
-Building expansion joints do not have sufficient width to prevent pounding across the joints. Seismic motion will cause severe structural damage at the joints.

Mechanical - Summary of Issues:

-Heating and chilled water are provided to the SOB from the new central plant.
-Two chillers are present in the SOB, but are only used when chillers in the central plant are down. These two chillers in the SOB are in excess of 20 years old and use a refrigerant that will be phased out.
-The cooling tower on the roof of the SOB is used when the 2 chillers in the basement are running. Tower is original equipment. Tower fill and basin are worn out, should be replaced.
-Two air handlers located in the basement of the SOB provide air for heating and cooling all floors of the building. Fans are original equipment, and could be replaced by more energy efficient modern fans. Some coils in the units have frozen and have not been replaced.
-Many of the controllers on individual VAV boxes (part of the air system) are more than 20 years old and are failing, need to be replaced.
-Ductwork for air distribution is a combination of old and new ducts. Due to numerous contractors working on the system over the years, it is safe to assume the ducts leak, which results in increased energy consumption.
-Existing duct risers do not appear to be enclosed inside fire rated shafts and are not protected with fire/smoke dampers. System does not appear to comply with latest life/safety code requirements.

Anticipated Usable Life Remaining in the Existing Mechanical Systems:

Component - Age - Anticipated Remaining Life
-Heating Water Pumps - New- 35 years
-Chilled Water Pumps - New - 35 years
-Chillers -20+ years - 20 years in stand-by mode (1)
-Variable Frequency Drives - New - 20 years
-VAV Box Controllers - 19 to 23 years - None
-Air Handler Fans - 50 years -Indefinite (2)

(1) Compressors were recently rebuilt, but chillers use a refrigerant that is scheduled for phase-out in the near future, do not have the same controls options found on the new chillers in the central plant, and are not as efficient as modern chillers.

(2) Fan bearings may require replacement over the years. Older fans not as efficient as modern units.

Electrical: Power, Lighting, Fire Alarm and Voice/Data Cabling - Summary of Issues

-The 15 kV switchgear and distribution feeding the building is old, original equipment and is beyond its useful life. It is radial-fed (without redundant paths) from the central plant and is a high-risk single-point of failure for the building. This switchgear and distribution should be replaced with new on a looped distribution system. In addition, the transformers for the building should be replaced based on age.

-The electrical distribution system in the building has been partially replaced and added to over the years. While some of the equipment is new, it was not originally designed to accommodate modern office needs. Many of the electrical panels and rooms are filled to capacity with little room for growth and flexibility. The building electrical distribution system should be replaced in its entirety with new, and located in new, stacked electrical closets.

-Most branch wiring is required to be replaced due to the remodeling that will occur. Problems associated with grounding and power quality have also been reported, which should be corrected with the new branch wiring.

-Lighting is predominantly fluorescent. Many of the fixtures still use T12 lamps with magnetic ballasts. About 1/2 of the fixtures have been retrofitted or provided new with T8 lamps and electronic ballasts. More energy efficient lighting systems are available today and an overall lighting replacement is recommended to improve efficiency. Lighting controls will also be enhanced and added to reduce energy consumption.

-Emergency and standby power will be added to meet current code requirements. Communications rooms and associated cooling will also be added to the generator system to back up the critical data operations in the building.

-Ideally, the fire alarm system should be replaced with a new system so that the building can be consistent with the other buildings and integrated into the computerized graphical annunciation software.

-Telecommunications rooms are overheated and too small to meet current codes and standards. Much of the telecommunications cabling is the older standard CAT 3 and CAT 5 cabling that will not support higher speeds that the new CAT 6 standard will support. New telecommunications closets and cabling is required to bring the building up to current standards and provide a more reliable, high-speed network.

Wireless Wan Communications - Summary of Issues:

-The state communications network consists of an extensive microwave system plus a fiber optic network. These two systems provide the redundancy necessary for the critical operations of the state communications needs.

-If the State Office Building is removed, the antennas for the microwave network located on the roof plus the electronic equipment located in the penthouse will need to be relocated. The traffic on this system will need to be maintained and remain in service during the construction phase. The recommendations below permanently relocates the microwave equipment to other locations and would not require moving that equipment back to the new State Office Building.

Three backbone microwave paths are presently in service
· One to the Ogden area via Ensign Peak
· One to the University of Utah
· One to the Technical Operations Center
Two spur microwave paths are presently in service
· One to the BLM
· One to the FBI
Additional communications systems
· Several communications systems for Homeland Security
· At least two cellular telephone companies (the cell companies are responsible to relocate to other facilities if required by the state)
A DACS is located in the penthouse and is used for grooming T1 traffic


-Install a fiber optic loop with new fiber installed in existing UDOT conduit between the Cal Rampton building and a splice location near Highland Drive.
-Obtain use of fibers in an existing cable owned by the university between ECCLES and the splice location near Highland Drive.
-Relocate the Ensign Peak microwave equipment form SOB to either ECCLES or TOC.
-Relocate the FBI and BLM microwave equipment to alternate locations.
-Relocate the Homeland Security equipment to an alternate location.
-Relocate the DACS equipment to the data center.

Executive Office Building Study – Update 6

The results of the structural engineering analysis of the State Office Building revealed that the seismic upgrade that was done to the building in the early 90’s provided adequate amounts member strengthening in both the vertical and horizontal directions. There is a question that is yet to be resolved regarding the continuity of structure from floor to floor. This will require further investigation that can be done following the workshop.

The structural report went on to identify that building during a significant earthquake of expected magnitude (7.3) would sway approximately 20” in both directions. While the building would not collapse two major problems would occur:
1. The building would attempt to tear its self apart at the expansion joint in the center of the building. This is due to it heavy core and light frame. The earthquake would cause a swaying motion at the extreme east and west ends of the building and the osculation would force the building into a sin wave with the neutral point at the expansion joint. This would result in tearing at the expansion joint which if a larger quake was to hit the building could possibly result in portion of the building collapsing.
2. The exterior skin of the building can not withstand the movement of the building during a significant event. The concrete panels and the aluminum windows would completely disconnect from the building would either be dropped to the ground in the case of the lower elements or flung from the building in the case of the upper panels. This is due largely to the way the connections are made and the material used in the connection as well as the tolerance that was designed into the system when it was build which is very limited. The only remedy for this situation is to completely remove the exterior skin and replace it with a design that provides for a more robust connection and a exterior enclosure that would allow for greater movement during a seismic event.

The mechanical and electrical reports were not available at the time of the meeting however, the project definition architect explained that the mechanical systems and the electrical systems are no longer able to meet the needs of the occupants. That it will be the teams recommendations that the two systems are completely replaced with modern state of the art systems. This will provide greater energy efficiency which will reduce energy costs and will provide a better overall working environment for the occupants.

The workshop where all the different options will be reviewed is scheduled for May 26, 27 and 28. Invitations are being sent out to members of the board and other interested individuals.

The workshop format will as follows:
Day One-Discovery – May 26 from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM
• Presentation-Options
• Values/Drivers/Idea Hierarchy-Care the most about
Day Two- Open House/Larger group input – May 27, 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM
• Present ideas/Options to larger groups and listen for input
• Adjustment in idea Hierarchy based on larger group
Day Three- Resolution – May 28, from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM
• Working Session - Morning
• Summary of Values and Idea Hierarchy
• Development of concept refinement
• Consensus- Summary
• Agreement for direction of future work effort

Following the workshop a synopsis will be developed and distributed both on the blog and to board members.