Building Projects

John A. Cherberg Building Exterior Preservation

Status: Construction began May 2022

In late May 2022, DES began a preservation project at the Cherberg Building. The project includes cleaning of the building’s historic sandstone, minor repairs of masonry, resealing windows, and water leak prevention work. Maintaining building exteriors is important to prevent future costs as well as building function. A building’s exterior shell – the roof, windows, insulation, and exterior walls and doors – is designed to keep the structure water-tight and maintain a comfortable temperature for people working or visiting the facility. The work is scheduled to continue through mid-September.


  • Six parking stalls will be unavailable throughout the duration of the project
  • Scaffolding will be installed overall building entrances to protect visitors to the building from overhead work
  • Building work will be conducted in sections. Some noise may be heard in offices near the work areas

Latest updates

  • The contract has been extended for the work to continue through mid-September due to additional repair needs discovered during the cleaning.

Past projects

  • The building underwent significant seismic upgrades following the earthquakes of 1949 and 1965.
  • Mid-1980s – Upgraded and renovated all floors, improved ADA access, and added a modern elevator.
  • 1985 - The building's name was changed in honor of Washington State's 13th Lieutenant Governor, John A. Cherberg, who served for 32 years from 1957 to 1989.
  • 2002 – Numerous repairs due to the 2001 Nisqually earthquake. Major basement renovation to reconfigure existing offices and relocate the bathroom facilities from the southeast side to the northeast corner.
  • 2005 - Major building rehabilitation.
  • 2007- Mechanical and electrical rehabilitation.
  • 2016 - An emergency repair was conducted to fix a water leak
  • 2017 – Repair of a new and chronic leak that materialized during wet weather when a roof drain seal began to fail
  • 2017 - The West Campus Historic Buildings Exterior Repairs project included repair and preservation work on the Cherberg, Legislative, Temple of Justice, Insurance, Pritchard and O'Brien buildings.
  • 2019 - An aged roof was replaced on the Cherberg Building to alleviate chronic leaks.

Building History

The John A. Cherberg Building was one of six government buildings envisioned in the 1911 Capitol Master Plan. Construction began in 1935 and was completed in 1937. The building was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1979.

The 100,377 square-foot, four-story building was originally known as the "Public Lands and Social Security Building." Its placement and conceptual designed followed the plans of capitol architects Wilder and White. The building was designed by Olympia architect Joseph Wohleb.
Federal Public Works Administration funds were used to finance construction, which began during the Depression and was completed in 1937. Numerous alterations to the building were made beginning in the 1950s, with continual turnover of tenant agencies. In the 1960s the state Senate began to use the upper floors for offices. In 1984 and 1988, the first floors were significantly remodeled to create public hearing rooms, and in 1984 the building was renamed to honor John A. Cherberg, the 13th Lieutenant Governor of Washington from 1957 to 1989, which is longer than any other lieutenant governor in state history.

A nearly $34 million project was completed in 2006 that modernized the building. The project overhauled the mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems, corrected life-safety code deficiencies, strengthened seismic resistance, realigned offices and improved space use of the upper three floors, and installed new technology.