Records Center


The Isabella Bush Records Center provides low-cost, secure storage for records that must be retained for audit, legal, fiscal, or administrative needs, but that are no longer used frequently enough to justify expensive office storage. Records Center services are available to all state agencies, including community colleges and universities. All records sent to the Records Center remain in the legal custody of the originating agency.

Records Center staff will accurately retrieve records from storage and return them to client offices in a timely manner upon request. All records are checked-out and tracked using state-of-the-art equipment and technology, and training is offered to clients on all aspects of Records Center procedures.

Finally, records that reach the end of their established retention period are sent to a secure shredding facility upon agency approval. If the records are designated as "archival," they are transferred to the State Archives for permanent preservation.

Questions concerning use of the Records Center should be directed to your agency's designated Records Officer or to the Records Center staff, at the discretion of your Records Officer. The Records Center and Records Officers work in partnership to serve our mutual customers, the agency staff.

Hours - Location - Contact Information

Hours: 8:00 am to 4:30 pm
Monday through Friday (excluding state holidays)
Location: State Records Center
7590 New Market St SW
Tumwater, WA
Mailing Address: State Records Center
PO Box 40239
Olympia, WA 98504-0239
Capitol Campus Mail Stop: 40239
Telephone: Records Center Information (360) 753-5468 or (360) 586-0173
Records Center Manager (360) 664-0078
FAX: (360) 586-9137

Records Center Forms available for downloading

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Who can use the Records Center?
  2. How quickly can I get a file?
  3. How can I get my birth certificate?
  4. How do I transfer my boxes to the Records Center?
  5. What's the difference between the State Records Center and the State Archives?
  6. How are we charged for Records Center services?
  7. Who has access to our agency records?
  8. Is our office notified before records are destroyed?
  9. Where do I get boxes for storage at the Records Center?
  10. Can I retrieve files from the Records Center?
  11. Does the Records Center have tours and training?

1. Who can use the Records Center?

The State Records Center stores semi-active and inactive records for Washington State agencies, public Universities, and Community and Technical Colleges. The records must be listed on an approved records retention schedule.

2. How quickly can I get a file?

The files or boxes you request by 5:00 P.M. will be pulled the next working day and sent to you by Consolidated Mail, FedEx, or US Mail depending on your location. In cases of exceptional workload or staff shortages, records reference can take two working days. Urgent requests received by 5:00 P.M. are always pulled the next day by 10:00 A.M. You can call the Records Center to find out when your request was processed.

In cases of extreme emergency, records can be retrieved the same day. The Records Officer must verify that the state or an individual will suffer exceptional harm or damage if the records are not available that day. Call the Manager or Supervisor to request a "Same Day Request." The number of Same Day Requests are limited to keep staff, and consequently box storage costs, as low as possible.

3. How can I get my birth certificate?

The State Records Center does not have the authority to distribute any agency records to the public. Birth certificates can be obtained through the Department of Health, Center for Health Statistics at (360) 236-4300 or via the internet at

4. How do I transfer my boxes to the Records Center?

  • Select the records to be stored. The records must be included on an approved records retention schedule or General Schedule and have reached their cut-off date or event, but not their disposition date
  • Gather the necessary supplies including boxes, barcode labels, and box content labels, (use supply request form if supplies are needed) Any required forms can be found on this web page under "Records Center Forms Available for Downloading"
  • Place the records in order in Records Center boxes. Contact the Records Center about storage of odd sized records
  • Prepare records transmittal forms describing the boxes
  • Prepare any lists of the contents of the boxes that you will need in your office to retrieve the records. Include a list with the transmittal if the records series are "archival" (required.) A form is available to use to list the contents of "archival" boxes
  • Label the boxes, put the matching barcode label on the appropriate transmittal
  • Have the Records Officer review, approve, and sign the transmittals. Keep a photocopy in case the originals are lost while being processed
  • The Records Officer will send the transmittals to the Records Center for review and entry. The Records Center will enter the information into the Records Center database and scan a completed copy containing a batch number back to the agency records officer.
  • The Records Center will call to arrange for pick-up of the boxes or they can be shipped or delivered once the scanned transmittal is received by the records office.
  • See Records Center Manual for specific details.

5. What is the difference between the State Records Center and the State Archives?

They are at separate locations and have two entirely separate purposes. The Records Center provides low cost off-site storage to state agencies--the agencies retain legal custody. When records have met agency retention requirements and are designated "Archival," agencies transfer legal custody of the record to the State Archives for historical preservation and public research.

6. How are we charged for Records Center services?

State agencies are charged an annual box charge based on the number of boxes they have stored with the Records Center. This charge covers all Records Center services, storage, supplies and more. For the current box charge rate or to learn more about our services, please contact the Records Center manager at 360-586-0173.

Note: When your agency receives a final billing it includes not only the Records Center fees but the fees charged to support the Archives & Records Management Division. These fees are calculated on your agencies FTEs.

7. Who has access to our agency records?

Only the agency that stores them. All records created or maintained by state agencies are property of the State of Washington and the public that paid for their creation. The agency that creates or maintains the records is the legal custodian, or steward, of the records. Records transferred to the Records Center remain in the legal custody of the agency of origin. This means that the Records Center only takes physical custody of the records.

The Records Center is responsible for protecting the records from unauthorized access, damage, and deterioration. Both legal control and control of access to the records is retained by the agency until the records are either transferred to the Archives section or destroyed. If a private citizen or staff member from another agency contacts the Records Center to access records, they will be referred to appropriate agency Records Officer or Public Disclosure Officer.

The Records Center will not release records to another agency without permission of the agency Records Officer. The Records Center does not release records to the public under any circumstances. Agency staff should not refer public inquires about records to the Record Center.

8. Is our office notified before records are destroyed?

Yes, always! Disposal notices for records that are stored at the Records Center and that have passed their required retention period are sent to the Agency Records Officer to obtain a signature from the originating department authorizing the destruction of records. This is required before the Records Center disposes of any records. This process can be delayed if necessary for documenting legal, audit or program need.

9. Where do I get boxes for storage at the Records Center?

Supplies such as boxes, barcode labels, and box content labels can be obtained by using the Records Center supply order request form. These supplies are available at no extra cost to agencies storing records at the Records Center.

10. Can I retrieve files at the Records Center?

  • The Records Center will retrieve any file or box needed by the agency
  • Access is limited to the agency that retains legal custody of the records. Other agencies, and the public, cannot access the records
  • Agency staff must have approval of their Records Officer to initially retrieve records
  • The Records Center requires customers to select and use passwords to make retrieval more efficient and secure
  • Customers request records by emailing a Reference Request form to the Records Center listing the boxes and/or files needed
  • Records are typically pulled the next day
  • Customers are notified if a box or file is not available
  • Records can either be picked up, mailed, or reviewed at the Records Center
  • The Records Center re-files records upon their return
  • There is no additional charge for retrieval services

11. Does the Records Center have tours and training?

Tours of the Records Center are available upon request. Any customer, or potential customer, is encouraged to come and see how records are stored and accessed. Touring the Records Center helps make our procedures more understandable.

Formal classroom training on Records Center procedures is provided through the Department of Personnel (under "Archives and Records Management"). The Department of Personnel charges a minimal fee for this class. The classes are listed in the monthly training bulletin issued by the Department of Personnel. Contact your agency training officer to register for the Department of Personnel class.

Informal training tailored to specific situations and needs is available on request. Records Center staff can come to your office or agency, or brief training sessions can be held at the Records Center. There is no charge for this less formal training. Contact the Manager or Supervisor to arrange for a tour or for information about training.