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Arlington city and state employees move into new space

ARLINGTON — John Sibold is used to conducting airport business without any actual aircraft in sight.

For the past seven years, Sibold, aviation director for the Washington State Department of Transportation, has been working with staff members out of a nearby space in Smokey Point — about a mile away from the Arlington Municipal Airport.

“It’s important for us to be at the airport,” Sibold said. “Being near our customers is always important. It’s a perception issue when we’re not on an airport.”

State aviation employees, along with city of Arlington airport employees, are currently in the process of moving into a renovated airport facility.

The 8,800-square-foot building will house city airport workers in its west wing and state aviation employees in its east end.

WSDOT officials will be renting space from the city which owns the new building.

“It’s great for the whole airport community,” said Paul Ellis, capital projects manager for the city of Arlington. “We get to share space that both departments need and pilots coming in can do their business right here instead of having to drive anywhere.”

Three full-time and two part-time airport employees will be housed in the city’s side of the building. Two full-time maintenance workers will also have space in the building, said airport manager Rob Putnam.

“There’s going to be room for us to grow,” he said.

The state’s side of the building has a large space for about six to eight cubicles. Smaller rooms around the perimeter of the building will house state aviation officials and directors.

Putnam said state specifications required construction crews to install specific lighting and heating systems in the building. The size of the office and server rooms were also designed with those requirements in mind, Putnam said.

“It’s a lot more stringent than your normal building,” he said.

In addition to its two separate sections, the building has more than 2,000-square-feet of common space, which includes a kitchen area and a large meeting room.

“It’s good in these times that we share space,” Sibold said. “It helps reduce costs and that’s a positive thing.”

The shared area could house up to 45 people, and could be used as a central command center should any emergencies arise within the area, Putnam said.

City or state sponsored events could also take place in the meeting room, he said.

Crews began renovating the space in June, said Ivan Mott of Pennon Construction.

Workers were finishing up inside the building on Monday, Nov. 30, while city employees were working on groundskeeping outside of the facility.

Putnam said that airport staff were slated to move in on Friday, Dec. 4.

State officials are scheduled to move to the new building Dec. 14-16, said WSDOT spokeswoman Nisha Marvel said.

The state entity will officially begin conducting business on Dec. 17, and an open house is scheduled for Dec. 22.

WSDOT Aviation oversees the state’s 139 public use airports. It also collects aircraft registration fees.

Funding for the $1.2 million building mostly came from rent the airport charges to its tenants.

The building is located at 180204 59th Drive NE, Arlington.

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