Olympia Fire to hold training in Capitol Campus buildings slated for demolition

For inquiries:
J.D. Young | 360-709-2703 |

The Department of Enterprise Services (DES) is partnering with the City of Olympia Fire Department to hold training exercises in the Newhouse Building and former press houses on the Capitol Campus before the buildings are torn down to make way for a modern Newhouse replacement.

The Olympia Fire Department will use the buildings to run training exercises for their firefighters from Feb. 21 to 24. The upcoming removal of the structures provides a perfect opportunity for the department to run search and rescue drills while navigating unfamiliar spaces in the dark and with smoke present.

“We are thankful for this partnership with DES and the opportunity to conduct a live exercise on the Capitol Campus. Training like this helps condition our firefighters to think clearly, act calmly, and actively troubleshoot while safely and effectively performing rescues. That muscle memory and clear decision-making ability are important in the heat of the moment when every second counts,” said Battalion Chief of Training J.D. Young.

While passersby may see white smoke coming from the building, it is purely for training purposes and no actual fires will be set.

Visitors are being asked to avoid the sidewalk and area surrounding the Newhouse Building and press houses during the training, and fire trucks and ambulances will be parked nearby blocking some parking spaces.

WHAT: City of Olympia Fire Department Training

WHEN: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Feb. 21 to 24

WHERE: Newhouse Building, Carlyon and Ayer (press) Houses, and surrounding parking area


The Newhouse Building and press houses are slated for demolition to make way for a new building that will replace the existing Newhouse structure. This work begins a major phase of construction in the Legislative Campus Modernization (LCM) Project, a phased project to replace and update aged structures on campus. LCM will also renovate the Joel M. Pritchard and John L. O’Brien Buildings, and make other improvements to the Capitol Campus.

The Irving R. Newhouse Building was originally built in 1934 as a temporary structure but has stood on campus for nearly nine decades serving as the home of various state offices. Most recently it housed Senators and their support staff. The building, located at 215 Sid Snyder Ave. on the West Capitol Campus has significant health and life safety hazards and must be replaced. The replacement is designed to fit the historic character of the campus while meeting modern needs related to public access and priorities like energy efficiency. DES will salvage several materials from the existing Newhouse Building and press houses to use in the replacement. Building demolition is expected to begin in early March 2023. Construction will last through the end of 2024.

The Carlyon and Ayer Houses served as the home base of reporters dedicated to covering Washington state government from the Capitol Campus between the early 1980s and 2021. DES recently partnered with TVW to capture an oral history of the press houses.

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