FRANKFORT, Ky. — A rededication ceremony and ribbon cutting were held today at the newly renovated State Office Building on High Street in downtown Frankfort. A major restoration of the 1938 Art Deco office tour was recently completed to address both functional obsolescence and environmental issues.
“The renovation of the State Office Building has been a wonderful success story for state government and downtown Frankfort,” said Governor Ernie Fletcher. “Not only did we save the architectural beauty of this historic structure while modernizing the workspace, we also increased building capacity and came in $4.1 million under budget.”
New tenants of the building are the Kentucky Department of Revenue, the Commonwealth Office of Technology and the Personnel Cabinet. Prior to the renovation, the building served as home to employees of the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) until construction of the new KYTC building adjacent to the State Office Building was completed.
“Prior to this renovation, the building included awkward office space, asbestos tile and out-of-date electrical systems,” said Sec. Robbie Rudolph. “If you were ever in this building before today, you know first-hand the tremendous improvements this renovation represents.”
The last major renovation of the building dates back to the addition that was built in the 1960s. The building’s Art Deco influence, popular in the 1930s and 40s, is evident in the exterior brickwork and design of the building. Other Art Deco elements inside the building include the elevators, terrazzo tile and ornate brick work.
“Great care was taken during this renovation to modernize the building while maintaining its architectural integrity,” said Mike Burnside, secretary of the Finance and Administration Cabinet. “I think we honored the historical significance of the structure while also bringing in 21st century office functionality.”
The total cost of the project was approximately $55 million, $4.1 million under the $59 million appropriation. The building’s floor plan now features a modular design, which increased the occupancy from 800 to 1,200 employees.
“We essentially got 400 more people in this building for free,” said Rudolph.
Rudolph and Burnside were joined at today’s ceremony by Personnel Cabinet Secretary Brian J. Crall and Department of Revenue Commissioner John May.
Sec. Crall said that relocating the Personnel Cabinet to the State Office Building provides greater accessibility for the many current and prospective state employees who visit the testing and counseling branch in hopes of gaining state employment.
“Being in a facility this centrally located, and which allows for virtually all of the Personnel functions to operate under one roof, should serve to appreciably enhance our services to employees and employment seekers.”
Revenue Commissioner May said the consolidation of his department’s many different locations into one facility is a great efficiency.
"The Department of Revenue is truly excited to have its operations consolidated into the State Office Building,” said May. “The rehabilitation of this historic structure into modern office space affords Revenue operations the ability to better serve the citizens of Kentucky. This workspace is a welcome environment for our nearly 900 employees."
Renovations of the existing parking area and work on an additional lot on the site of the old Frankfort Scrapyard are ongoing and will be completed by the time the building is fully occupied. These parking areas will be landscaped to include medians with greenery and enhanced lighting for safety and security purposes.