State close to deal for Department for Children and Families space on South Oliver

The possible future home of the Department for Children and Families.

The possible future home of the Department for Children and Families.

WICHITA — The state is close to a deal on new office space for the Department for Children and Families, the largest of the state agencies at the city-owned Finney State Office Building at 230 E. William.

DCF is considering the 96,000 square feet that the U.S. Postal Service is vacating at 2601 S. Oliver.

“It’s at the goal line is how I would describe it,” says Mark McGivern, director of the Office of Facilities and Procurement Management within the state Department of Administration. “We’re still working things out.”

In June, Have You Heard? reported that nine state agencies, including more than 700 employees, will leave the Finney building when the state’s lease expires on Sept. 30. More than 550 of those employees are with DCF.

The city presented the state with what a state spokesman called “a very aggressive lease renewal offer” last summer, but the spokesman said DCF has needs the Finney building can’t fulfill.

“You kind of had a little bit of what I call a crowd-control issue,” McGivern says.

He says he wants to put “them in the building that they say they can be most effective in.”

“The agencies are my customers, and I try to put them in places that they say work best for them at the best possible prices for the state,” McGivern says. “We did this (with) the idea of helping the agency better serve their customers.”

The South Oliver building is on a bus line, and it’s a one-story building, which McGivern says is ideal.

“It’s much more I’ll say ready to go,” he says. “It’s much more conducive to what they say they need the way they have their programs designed.”

The Postal Service last year announced its plans to close its remote encoding center on South Oliver.

“Timing is an issue,” McGivern says of getting in the space.

He says some postal workers are still in the building, and it will be a matter of coordinating schedules to allow the building to work.

“It’s just a good building and a good location for us.”

When – and if – this deal gets done, there are only a couple of agencies from the Finney building left to place. McGivern says the Kansas Bureau of Investigation is deferring its decision.

“They likely will locate with the Highway Patrol in some facility out there,” he says.

The Long-Term Care Ombudsman Office, which McGivern says has only one or two employees, still needs to decide on a new home from a few options.

Otherwise, McGivern says, “Everybody’s got a home.”