The State Worker

Sacramento’s second-worst state building

The State Personnel Building is the second worst facility on a ranking the state commissioned of its worst buildings in Sacramento.
The State Personnel Building is the second worst facility on a ranking the state commissioned of its worst buildings in Sacramento.

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 we’ve focused in this series on five that are listed as “poor,” meaning they will need large-scale renovation soon.

In March 1955, as the state prepared to open its new State Personnel Board headquarters at 801 Capitol Avenue, a press released announced that plenty of paperwork had to be moved.

The relocation involved 300,000 general records, along with 250,000 “roster cards” with information on past and then-present state workers. Thousands of pages of job-exam announcements and information from job applicants went, too.

The new building was created to consolidate human resources functions that had been spread out across offices in the capital, said Jim Zamora, spokesman for the California Department of Human Resources. CalHR is the state agency that now performs some of the functions the personnel board did at the time.

The Personnel Building was unremarkable. When it opened, the press release read: “Utility and efficiency were the objectives in designing the new structure. It is attractive in appearance and up-to-date in design and construction, but contains no frills or luxury items.”

At the time, the state’s workforce numbered 55,000. As of July, California had 227,260 state employees.

Construction costs have also grown. While the original contract for construction was about $1.6 million, a state study estimates the Personnel Building now needs almost $8 million in repairs within the next year to remove asbestos and lead, bring facilities up to compliance with the federal Americans with Disabilities Act, and replace building systems nearing the end of their useful life.

Because it’s one of the three worst facilities identified in a Department of General Services study, the department is studying the possibility of overhaul or replacement.

Andrew Holzman: 916-326-5545, @andrewlholzman


Address: 801 Capitol Mall

Year constructed: 1954

Major tenant(s): State Personnel Board

Capacity: 232 people

Estimated cost of repairs needed in next 12 months: $7,992,254

Safety issues: Asbestos in insulation, lead paint in building. Building lacks fire sprinkler system.

Accessibility issues: Bathrooms need renovation for ADA compliance, ramp needed at west exit.

Other urgent repairs needed: Windows are not energy efficient and haven’t been replaced since building was constructed; air ducts need replacement.

Historic designation: Considered historic on the basis of age. Changes must be reviewed by the state historic preservation officer.

Source: Facility Condition Assessment by EMG, a consultant.

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