Juvenile Affairs joins other state agencies at Capitol Complex in renovated workspace
By Christa Helfrey
The Oklahoma Office of Juvenile Affairs is the latest state agency to move into the Capitol Complex after teaming up with the Office of Management and Enterprise Services to revitalize office space at the M.C. Connors Building. This joint effort has enabled OJA to consolidate its teams into a collaborative work environment, occupy a space catered to their needs and reduce the state’s overall real estate footprint.
Previously, OJA occupied two separate buildings on private leases. Recognizing the need for a modern, unified workspace, OJA joined forces with OMES to plan a layout that would enhance OJA operations and better support its mission of serving Oklahoma youths and families.
“Both of our existing offices, while adequate, were in need of updating,” said Constanzia Nizza, OJA chief of staff. “This new office space provides a fresh environment for our staff and allows our leadership to be closer to the Capitol and other state agencies within the complex.”
Multiple OMES teams – including Real Estate and Leasing Services (REALS), Facilities Management, and Information Services (IS) – contributed their expertise to the comprehensive refurbishment project. REALS helped OJA devise a strategic floor plan to optimize functionality and streamline workflow. The Facilities Management team brought that floor plan to life, and IS outfitted technology throughout the space to fulfill electrical and data needs. Through meticulous design, planning and execution, the workspace was crafted to meet the unique requirements of OJA’s operations.
“They were great to work with,” said Jennifer Ramsey, OMES real property administrator. “Our meetings were effective and made it easy to plan for them. They really explained what their need was for how their departments work, and we used that to drive our approach to their layout.”
Worn-out carpets were replaced with fresh alternatives, walls were taken down and new offices and shared spaces were constructed to foster collaboration and a sense of community. From initial planning to OJA move-in, the entire project took one year and four months. The resulting workspace is refreshed and helps ensure OJA can continue achieving positive outcomes for the young individuals they serve.
In addition to the benefits to OJA staff that now office in the Connors Building, Nizza said this project aligns with the state’s larger goal of better utilizing state-owned property, saving taxpayer dollars on lease costs and housing more agencies in the Capitol Complex.
The impact of this transformation reaches far beyond the walls of the refurbished workspace. It’s a testament to inter-agency collaboration, aiming to unify state government and ensure the State of Oklahoma is utilizing cost-effective solutions and optimizing resources while fulfilling its commitment to serving Oklahomans.