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Temple of Justice Systems Renewal

Status: Design

As buildings get older, their maintenance needs increase. This is apparent in the aging heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC), lighting, and plumbing systems in the Temple of Justice. These systems are vital to maintaining occupant comfort, preserving state assets, and improving building energy performance in line with requirements for efficiency.

The building is a historic structure and both the interior and exterior have important features that require active preservation measures. It also contains artifacts and records that deteriorate with exposure to overly moist or dry air or excessive temperatures.

DES is overseeing design work to address these issues by replacing the HVAC system, building plumbing system, and lighting and controls throughout the building. The timeline for construction will be determined during the design phase. 

Latest updates

  • Design begins August 2021

Past Temple of Justice projects

  • 2018 Interior security upgrade.
  • 2017 Cleaning and masonry repair.
  • 2003 Electrical improvements were added, including removal and replacement of transformers, switchboards, and panel boards. The sump pumps were also replaced.
  • 2002 Following the earthquake of 2000, repairs were made including exterior and interior stone repair, and repair of marble and plaster.
  • 1989 Improved seismic stability, modernized building systems, altered space use, added offices, and improved increased building circulation with added stairs, elevator and entry improvements, and enhanced security and safety systems. This was the largest modification to the Temple since its construction.

Building history

In spring 1912, Chief Justice R. O. Dunbar presided over the official ground-breaking ceremony for the building. Even though the structure was still under construction, plans were approved in December 1912 to hold the 1913 Inaugural Ball of Ernest Lister, governor-elect, at the Temple. More than eight years after the initial groundbreaking, the three-story, 85,900 square-foot building was accepted as complete even though interior finishing work continued through 1922. 

A major rehabilitation completed in 1988 improved seismic stability, modernized building systems, altered space use, added offices, and improved increased building circulation with added stairs, elevator and entry improvements, and enhanced security and safety systems. Changes and additions were made to building interior finishes as well.

The Washington State Supreme Court has served as the Temple of Justice's primary tenant throughout the building's history. The building is home to the State Law Library, which has included the state's legal collection in the Main Reading Room since the building opened. The Temple also houses associated supportive functions including the Commission of the Court, and the Administrative Office of the Courts.

Learn more about the Temple of Justice building.