Records Center

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The Isabella Bush Records Center provides low-cost, secure storage for records that must be retained for audit, legal, fiscal, or administrative needs, but 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. 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 appraisal to determine if permanent preservation is appropriate.


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.

 

Training

 

Hours, location, and contact information

Hours: 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Monday to Friday (excluding state holidays)
Location: Isabella Bush Records Center
7590 New Market St SW
Tumwater, WA
Mailing Address: Isabella Bush Records Center
PO Box 40239
Olympia, WA 98504-0239
Capitol Campus Mail Stop: 40239
Telephone: (360) 586-0173
Email: [email protected]
   

Records Center forms available for downloading

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Frequently asked questions

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

 

 

 

1. Who can use the Records Center?

The 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 p.m. will be pulled the next working day and sent to you by consolidated mail, FedEx, or US Postal Service depending on your location. In cases of exceptional workload or staff shortages, records reference can take two working days. Urgent requests received by 5 p.m. are always pulled the next working day by 10 a.m.

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. Always call the Records Center staff at (360) 586-0173 to notify them a "same day request" is pending. The number of same day requests are limited to keep staff, and consequently box storage costs, as low as possible.

 

 

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

  • Submit a Records Center user access request form to your records officer for approval. The Records Center will enter your approved user profile information and supply you with the instructions for transmitting records using the Records Center management system (RCMS) web application.
  • Select the records to be stored. The records must be included on an approved records retention schedule or general schedule.
  • Gather the necessary supplies. Barcode labels, content labels, and boxes are ordered through RCMS.
  • Place the records in order in Records Center boxes. Contact the Records Center about storage of odd sized records.
  • Follow the instructions supplied to you by the Records Center to open and use RCMS for transmitting records.
  • Attach barcode labels to the corresponding boxes.
  • Upon receiving the email confirmation that your boxes have been approved you may ship or deliver the boxes. If you have selected to have the Records Center pick up the boxes we will add you to our trucking schedule.

 

 

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

Although both store records and work closely together, each functions differently and serves a different purpose.

The State Records Center provides low cost off-site storage to state agencies — the agencies retain legal custody and may call their stored records back to their facilities using the Records Center management system web application. Agencies are responsible for public disclosure of the records they store with the Records Center.

The State Archives collects and preserves historical records of Washington state. Records designated as "archival" are transferred to the Archives when they are no longer needed on a regular basis by the government office in which they originate. The State Archive takes legal custody of transferred records and provides access for research and public disclosure.

 

 

5. 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 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 and Records Management division. 

 

 

6. Who has access to our agency records?

Only the originating agency's staff that has been approved by its records officer have access to its records. 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 destroyed or transferred to archival storage. If a private citizen or staff member from another agency contacts the Records Center to access records, they will be referred to the appropriate agency records 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. Public inquiries about records should never be referred directly to the Record Center.

 

 

7. Is our office notified before records are destroyed?

Yes, always! Disposition notices for records stored at the Records Center are sent to the agency records officer for approval of destruction or transfer to the Archives. The Records Center will take no action on eligible boxes without this approval.

 

 

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

Supplies such as boxes, barcode labels, and box content labels are ordered through the Records Center management system web application. Supplies provided for records storage are part of Records Center services, there is no charge to customer agencies.

 

 

9. 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 submit a Records Center user access request form for their records officer to approve and forward to the Records Center.
  • Upon receiving the approved Records Center user access request form, Records Center staff will email the new user instructions to access the Records Center management system web application.
  • Records are typically pulled the next working 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.

 

 

10. 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 see how records are stored and accessed. Touring the Records Center helps make our procedures more understandable.

Please see our informational YouTube videos on how to transmit and request records. Training tailored to specific situations and needs is also available on request. Records Center staff can come to your office or agency, or brief training sessions can be held at the Records Center. Contact the Records Center Manger to arrange for a tour or for information about training.