Collaborative offices in renovated building cut costs for State Capitol Complex
By Maria DeLoera
In collaboration with the Oklahoma Office of Management and Enterprise Services, several state agencies have moved to the M.C. Connors Building, 1 of 4 office structures that flank the State Capitol between north and southbound Lincoln Boulevard. Formerly home of the Oklahoma Tax Commission, the midcentury-style building now houses the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board, the Oklahoma Regional University Systems and the Oklahoma Nursing Board, with others slated to join them in coming months. OMES Capital Assets Management facilitated the process with the aim of consolidating office space and saving over $66,000 in annual rent.
After a 47-year tenancy at the Connors Building, the Tax Commission’s relocation to the Strata Tower in downtown Oklahoma City last year opened the opportunity for more state agencies to inhabit the Capitol Complex and implement a new office style that encourages teamwork.
OMES Administration, OMES Information Services and OMES Real Estate and Leasing Services assisted with everything from identifying tenants to move in, to setting up technology and maximizing the space to meet agencies’ needs. The new OMES model of 180 square feet per full-time employee lowers cubicle walls, creates collaboration spaces and brings in light from the outside.
“The M.C. Connors Building has amazing views of the State Capitol Building and the Oklahoma City Bombing Memorial Grove,” said Melissa Milburn, director of REALS Construction and Enterprise Services. “The Connors tenants could not be happier with the location.”
Jenny Barnhouse, executive director of the Oklahoma Board of Nursing, agrees the new space has been revitalizing. The nursing board moved in on Feb. 10, and she says employees are enjoying the open space, natural lighting and being part of the Capitol Complex. Moreover, working at the Connors Building has made employees feel more connected to the mission of state government and has brought to life the nursing board’s goal of safeguarding public health.
“I feel more integrity to be here and a sense of pride to serve our citizens,” Barnhouse said.
The open space has fostered a sense of family, boosting employee engagement and providing a renewed sense of team identity. Barnhouse noted the professional and positive experience of working with OMES CAM during the move, saying, “I would have to give them an A-plus.”
Throughout the entire process, her employees have felt supported by the OMES team. Even after the move, Barnhouse noted the Facilities Management staff was accommodating and welcoming. Now fully settled at the Capitol Complex, the Oklahoma Board of Nursing feels connected to the spirit of public service.
The Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority is currently underway with its move to the Capitol Complex. Kelsey Pagonis, M.Ed., communications director for OMMA, noted the responsiveness and accommodation of the Connors Building staff.
“It’s been an extremely collaborative process,” she said. “The floors we’re on had to be extensively remodeled to accommodate our staffing needs and space requirements. The staff at Connors have been helpful and responsive. We’re a department with a lot of moving parts, so we are grateful for their adaptability.”
Currently, the building has additional leases slated with the Office of Juvenile Affairs, State Fire Marshal, and OMES Fleet Management, all set to move in from late April to the beginning of June.