SBA office to move to the Garvey Center using new streamlined design process

Wayne Bell, district director of the Small Business Administration.

WICHITA — The government is better known for red tape than streamlined processes, but the General Services Administration is working on that, and a change in offices for the Small Business Administration is going to offer something of a test case.

The SBA’s Wichita district office is moving from 271 W. Third St., where the IRS is, to the Page Court Building at the Garvey Center at 220 E. Douglas.

Before the move can happen, there has to be a design phase, which could determine everything from the tint of the windows to security systems in the new office.

“Normally, the process would take … 60 days or more,” says Wayne Bell, the SBA’s district director.

The GSA has a new design intent drawing process that will convene everyone involved in the move — contractors, designers, the SBA, the GSA, a representative for the landlord and anyone else connected with the project.

“You’re going to have all of the players in the room,” Bell says. “With this approach, everything should be complete within a three-day timeframe. It’s a really, really good idea.”

The old way of doing things involved sending drawings to the GSA, then the SBA, which would make changes before sending it back to the GSA. Then the contractor would get the drawings after a protracted period.

“So it could take months,” Bell says.

The design intent drawing creates a condensed timeframe where there’s an on-the-spot rough draft of the SBA’s needs that gets refined immediately with everyone present.

“This is very new,” Bell says. “So it’s going to be kind of an on-the-job learning process.”

The meetings will take place over a three-day period in late October at the Wichita Downtown Development Corp.’s design innovation center.

“What we try to do in that space is make resources available,” says WDDC president Jeff Fluhr.

That includes conference calling and video conferencing.

“We’re thrilled they’re willing to take the opportunity,” Fluhr says of the SBA and GSA. He says the attitude is “let’s walk through it and see what we learn from it.”

The SBA has been at its Third Street location for a decade. The lease is up, and the government requires a competitive bidding process for potential new office space.

The Garvey Center lease is for 12 years, five of which are firm.

“I like the building,” Bell says. “I like the location, and I think we’re going to be happy.”

The GSA and Larry Weber of Builders Inc., which owns the Garvey Center, handled the lease for the 5,012-square-foot space.

Bell says he’s not looking forward to the move, but he appreciates that part of the process likely will go more quickly.

“It really should get things streamlined. I’m excited about it because it gets us into the new space quicker, and we get the opportunity to give input on exactly what we need and why we need it. … This is really going to cut down on a lot of miscommunication.”

Bell expects to move by May. If that seems like a long time, Bell says that’s because not all of the steps can be streamlined.

“There are a few other steps that remain the same.”

Fluhr says he wants people look at downtown Wichita as an opportunity, and he says services and resources are in place to help with that.

“I think that helps us be competitive on a national level,” he says. “The goal is how do we move development forward in downtown?”

Fluhr says helping with relocations, such as the SBA’s, is one way.

“We get them in business faster,” he says. “Therefore, they’re being productive.”