DES begins work on new 'Visit Capitol Campus' website

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Every year, hundreds of thousands of people come to the Washington State Capitol Campus in Olympia for events, tours, recreation, and civic engagement. To make it easier for the public to learn about and plan a trip to the campus, DES is designing a new "Visit Capitol Campus" website.

At 486-acres, the Capitol Campus is one of the largest in the United States. It includes five parks, 25 office buildings, 18 monuments and artworks, and the 260-acre Capitol Lake. The entire campus is an internationally accredited arboretum.

Much of the campus information for visitors is located on DES' website,, which got a new look and feel last year. However, visitor information remains difficult for public users to find on the website. "Visit Capitol Campus" will customize the content for people who identify as campus visitors, and it will have a simplified navigation structure. (Employees who work on the campus will continue to use for work-related tasks, such as parking passes and security badges.)

"Our goal is to make it easy to book a tour, schedule an event, prepare for a visit, or simply learn about our historic campus," said David Rooth, Public Space Superintendent for Capitol Security and Visitor Services. "The Capitol Campus is a treasure, and we want the public to enjoy all the amenities it offers. We also know that people like to virtually explore the campus, and they should be able to do that on the website, too."

The website development team will apply user-centered design processes to get input from real users of the Capitol Campus. Research methods to collect public input will include surveys and focus groups. "Public input is very important to us and will be solicited throughout the project to ensure we're building a website that is helpful as well as engaging," said DES Digital and Creative Services Director Niquette Kelcher.

If you'd like to participate in future research opportunities, sign up here.

The expected launch for the new "Visit Capitol Campus" website is Spring 2024.