This blog was originally posted on GSA’s The Heartland Wire.
On the afternoon of Feb. 16, 2012, Region 6 GSA employees and contractors working at the 70-year-old Bannister Federal Complex crowded into a standing-room-only assembly in the facility’s auditorium. They were there to hear for themselves what Heartland Regional Administrator Jason Klumb had announced the previous day via email:
“After weighing potential redevelopment, our evolving workplace environment, and the benefits and risks of staying, we determined it was in the best interest of tenants, employees and the Kansas City community that we depart Bannister,” Klumb wrote.
So began a three-year project to move nearly 1,000 federal workers from the cavernous World War II-era manufacturing facility to leased space in the heart of Kansas City’s downtown business district. The move effectively concluded on March 25 when all workers officially reported to the new building known as “Two Pershing Square.”
“I had a chance to visit Region 6 early on in my tenure with GSA, and it’s been a tremendous opportunity to see an organization really embrace change, understand what it means, and go forward,” GSA Acting Administrator Denise Turner Roth said March 31 during the dedication ceremony at the new office.
The move not only paves the way for GSA’s disposition of the Bannister facility, it reduces the Regional Office’s footprint by more than half — saving taxpayers $64 million over the life of the lease. The new space puts Heartland Region workers and clients on the leading edge of the federal government’s transition from traditional offices and cubicles to vibrant, open work environments – fully embracing GSA’s Total Workplace concepts.
“There’s an excitement that comes with any move, and naturally some apprehensiveness,” said Klumb, the Regional Administrator. “Luckily, as the federal government’s workplace leader, we have the expertise to not only find the best space but also outfit it with the right tools and technology to make it work for the workforce.“
If you do business with Region 6 through the mail, make a note of the new address:
U.S. General Services Administration
The Heartland Region, Region 6
2300 Main St.
Kansas City, MO 64108
A New ‘Total’ Workplace
GSA’s space at Two Pershing Square amounts to roughly 151,000 rentable square feet – occupying the entire second and seventh floors, half of the fourth and sixth floors, a portion of the third floor, and a conference center on the first floor. Region 6 Leasing Contracting Officer Kory Hochler negotiated an average lease rental rate of $14.75 per rentable square foot, with abatement.
For GSA, this move downtown presented an opportunity to reduce the agency’s space footprint while achieving significant cost savings for taxpayers. In doing so, GSA has created an innovative, engaging workspace for employees and a showcase for client agencies.
The layout of GSA’s space in the Two Pershing Square building reflects the aims of the agency’s Total Workplace program – creating more “we” space and less “me” space. This initiative seeks to provide the resources and expertise to help federal agencies reduce their office space footprints, foster collaboration, better manage technology spending, and increase energy efficiency.
“Our new office will serve as a showcase environment to demonstrate the principles of Total Workplace for internal and external customers both regionally and nationally,” Workplace Program Specialist Jane Schuster said. “It will be a living model that our customers can use to experience the space in action and visualize how similar concepts could be implemented in their own offices.”
Ultimately, in a time of shrinking budgets, Total Workplace will save taxpayer dollars and allow agencies to invest more in their missions to better serve the American people.
Features of the new Kansas City office include:
- An open layout with ample access to daylight and an open-air atrium
- Workstation and room scheduling via the BookIT! system
- Very few private offices and assigned desks
- More conference rooms for small and large meetings
- More telephone rooms and collaboration spaces
- Just over 135 square-feet dedicated per person, with a typical workstation size of 6 x 6 feet
- A “quad” layout on fully occupied floors with easily identifiable sections — labeled Northeast, Northwest, Southeast and Southwest.
- Room Wizard touchpads on conference and huddle meeting rooms
- State-of-the-art teleconference technology
- Large break areas with nearby seating available individuals or small groups
- Way-finding guides for visitors
- Mobile pedestals for personal storage with padding that can function as seating
- Secure lockers for additional storage during and after work hours
- A digital signage display system (coming soon)
For many Regional Office workers, some of these features were familiar because they were first implemented in a Region 6 “Mobility Test Bed” at Bannister. The Test Bed, which opened in January 2012, was used as a laboratory to track new concepts regarding mobile work, collaboration, open workspaces and non-traditional workstations. The Test Bed was created from 6,800 square feet of PBS space that previously housed 24 workers in traditional cubicles. In the open, collaborative Test Bed configuration, the space could house up to 72.
Lessons learned from divisional and team rotations through the Test Bed were used in project planning for the downtown space.