Washington is running out of space to store its history.
The three-floor repository filled up in 2005, forcing archival documents to be shelved in the State Records Center warehouse in Tumwater. Agencies send thousands of boxes of records there for keeping until they can be legally destroyed.
But the Records Center overflow is expected to be full by the end of the year. That’s what prompted Secretary of State Kim Wyman, who oversees the archives, to ask lawmakers for funding to rent additional warehouse space and begin planning for a new building.
She’s asked for $250,000 for a study to put a new facility in the Olympia area to house the archives and state library. She’s also asked for $105,900 to secure a multi-year lease for 25,000 square feet of warehouse space and $707,500 to pay for shelving and equipment. This week, she got the good news that the Senate and the House had each included money in their proposed supplemental budgets.
The 47,200-square-foot Records Center was built in 1992 and enlarged in 2003. At the end of January it held 322,163 boxes of records plus 397,163 files of convicted criminals from the Department of Corrections. In all, that’s about 910 million records, according to figures provided by the Secretary of State’s Office.
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