State Collects Too Much Paper - No Place to Put It

By Tom Bacon

Anyone who's ever moved has dealt with boxes of stuff - they're heavy, they're in the way and where do we put this one? The state of Washington has the same problem.

Running a government eats up a lot of paper. And all that paper must be stored somewhere. But the 48-thousand square foot building Washington built in 1963 to house archives is jammed full. The State Archives building has three floors below ground near the Capitol. It has temperature controlled fire proof vaults to store the state's history.

But archivists shoved in the last box they could find a cranny for back in 2005. And since then, state records have been sent over  to the state Records Center warehouse in Tumwater.
Trouble is, that building will be chock full of records by the end of the year - something on the order of 322-thousand boxes of state records, and nearly 400-thousand files of convicted criminals.

And they just keep coming. Every year the state gets about 25-hundred new boxes of archival records and another 28-thousand boxes of material from state agencies.
The problem's so dire that Secretary of State Kim Wyman asked for - and got - 106-thousand dollars to
lease a big warehouse, and more than 700-thousand dollars additionally to buy shelving and equipment.
That'll provide a temporary respite. But what happens when that space is crammed full?

Wyman has asked for a study to build a new facility in the Olympia area to house additional archives and the state library. Economy-minded lawmakers put in a provision requiring state officials to figure out how to keep records electronically. and cut the volume of paper by 20 percent in two years.
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