District employees are settling into their new officesThe central offices of Independent School District 196 are a popular place these days. On Wednesday morning, three separate tours crossed paths in the hallway outside superintendent John Currie’s office.
By: Nathan Hansen, Rosemount Town Pages
The central offices of Independent School District 196 are a popular place these days. On Wednesday morning, three separate tours crossed paths in the hallway outside superintendent John Currie’s office.
Former employees, occasional visitors and newspaper reporters all appear to be interested in taking a look around now that the district has moved from a 35-year-old building to new office space on Chippendale Avenue in Rosemount.
The new building, which sat vacant for more than a year after it was built, was actually a last-minute change in plans for the district. Currie had already announced a plan to renovate the former district office to repair the roof and siding, but when the owners of the Chippendale building approached him with an interest in selling, the deal made sense.
The buildings are roughly the same size. The cost of buying (about $4.3 million including the work done to outfit the building) was comparable to the cost of the needed renovations. And moving meant avoiding the inconvenience of relocating half the district office staff while remodeling was done.
Plus, the new building has something that had always been missing in the former district office, which was originally planned as a storage building: windows.
Lots of windows.
District employees moved into their new offices two weeks ago and for the first week there were no blinds. For employees used to working in a windowless bunker of a building that was originally designed as a storage facility, it took some adjustment.
“People had to put up paper on the windows,” communication specialist Tony Taschner said.
Secondary education director Mark Parr, whose office has a large bank of windows, said he got a sunburn his first week in the office.
The blinds are in place now. Covering all the windows in the building even with relatively inexpensive blinds cost $8,000, Taschner said. With nicer blinds costs could have run as high as $80,000.
So, yeah. It’s a lot of windows.
The former district office will receive the roof and exterior renovations the district had originally planned to make but not the interior redesign that would have taken place without the move. The building will house the district’s graphics and print operations, mail processing and some special education operations.
In the new offices, employees are still settling in — sorting through boxes and deciding what they need and what they can throw away. They’re still figuring out the building’s layout, too. Without name plates on the building’s offices it’s still a sometimes a challenge to remember who sits where.
A district maintenance employee said he’s still killing the ants that presumably had the run of the building when it was vacant.
But Taschner said everyone should feel comfortable by the time the new carpet smell is gone.
“It’s still the same job, but people are getting used to being in the new place,” Taschner said. “We like the neighborhood, and hopefully the neighborhood likes us.”