The State Worker

Sacramento’s worst state buildings: Number 5

Light and shadow fall on a statue in front of the Jesse M. Unruh State Office Building in Sacramento on September 11, 2008.
Light and shadow fall on a statue in front of the Jesse M. Unruh State Office Building in Sacramento on September 11, 2008. Sacramento Bee

California state government’s recent survey of the buildings it owns ranked them for physical condition – the ratio of repair costs to replacement costs – and safety. None of the Sacramento buildings’ scores fell into the “very poor” range, but here is an installment of five that are listed as “poor,” meaning they will need large-scale renovation soon.

Esther Loveridge, a former state employee, worked in the Jesse M. Unruh building across from the Capitol in the early sixties. She said the building, built in 1929, is a source of pride and memories.

“I was proud to work there; I was excited as a young woman ... that’s where I worked when President Kennedy was shot.”

She’s returned since then, because her stepdaughter now works in the building. She said its age doesn’t show on the outside.

But a study commissioned by the Department of General Services found plenty she couldn’t see. It estimates the cost needed for repairs right away could top $10 million. The Unruh building, at 915 Capitol Avenue, is the fifth worst state building in Sacramento, the state’s survey says.

Named for former Assembly Speaker and State Treasurer Jesse Unruh, the building’s major tenant is the State Treasurer’s Office.

Among other things, the report says the state should install a fire sprinkler system right away, and that asbestos and lead paint need to be removed.

Andrew Holzman: 916-326-5545, @andrewlholzman

Jesse M. Unruh building

Address: 915 Capitol Avenue

Year constructed: 1929

Major tenant(s): State Treasurer’s office

Capacity: 448 people

Estimated cost of repairs needed in next 12 months: $10,876,618

Safety issues: Lacks fire sprinkler system; asbestos in ceilings, walls, roof; lead paint throughout building.

Accessibility issues: Elevators need Braille signage and gongs to indicate floor changes; other signs in building need replaced.

Other urgent repairs needed: Historic wood windows need to be repaired; various repairs needed to brick and other masonry.

Historic designation: National Register of Historic Places

Source: Facility Condition Assessment by EMG, a consultant.

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