Lack of space as well as a cumbersome layout, especially for the Kansas Department for Children and Families, were cited by the Brownback administration among reasons for wanting to move nine agencies and more than 700 state employees out of the Finney State Office Building in downtown Wichita after two decades. So it was curious to read in Mayor Carl Brewer’s September letter to Gov. Sam Brownback that during the unsuccessful negotiations to try to save the city-state partnership, the state had requested a “50 percent reduction in leased area” in the 300,000-square-foot building. Brewer also said that Diane Bidwell, DCF’s Wichita regional director, complained about the presence of sidewalk vendors. And last week the administration told The Eagle editorial board that Finney does not meet the Kansas Corporation Commission’s needs for a “heavy-lift loading dock” and a building that could withstand an EF-5 tornado. Why the regulatory agency has such needs may be unclear, but there’s no doubt that the state intends to exit the Finney building by next October.
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