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Committee explores options to fix overcrowding at MO Capitol

Dozens of state representatives have offices crammed into small spaces at the Capitol that are not ADA accessible.

It’s an issue that office staff say is a nuisance and makes it difficult when visitors stop by the office.

State Representative Kevin Engler, who is also the chair of the Joint Committee on Legislative Research, said it’s time to come up with a solution to the problem.

“We’re still having representatives that are in offices that can’t meet with constituents because it’s not ADA accessible,” Engler said.

Today, legislators and members of the committee toured two buildings that could offer a solution. Both are right next to the Capitol building.

The first stop on the walking tour was the post office. The upper floors are being renovated and those floors are completely empty right now.

“The state entered into a lease agreement in the fall of 2013 with the United States Postal Service and that’s a 20 year lease,” said Cathy Brown, Director of the Division of Facilities Management, Design and Construction. “For the first five years, the rental rate is a little over $103,000 a year.”

Would it be suitable office space? Engler said it’s definitely an option to consider.

The money to re-do those upper floors of the post office has already been budgeted.

Another option for more office space is the MODOT building. All office space is occupied in the building right now, but there could still be some options.

“If we displace some people at MODOT, we have to figure out what we do with them,” Engler said.

He said the overcrowding issue is not going to be a quick fix.

“We’d like to have personnel decisions so that we can put it in the budget in the next four to six weeks,” Engler said. “As far as long-term solutions, as far as using the facility, it’s probably going to be six months to a year before we finalize where everyone is going to go.”

There’s not an estimated cost yet, as this is still in the beginning phases.

ABC 17 News was told working committees will be formed to work with the Office of Administration and the governor to determine the best use of space.

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