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Ag department considering moving

Great Bend on the list of possible sites

POSTED June 20, 2012 5:02 p.m.

TOPEKA (AP) — The Kansas Department of Agriculture is considering moving its headquarters from Topeka to Manhattan or southwest Kansas. Great Bend is on the short list of possible locations.
The Topeka Capital-Journal reported Tuesday that the state department that handles facilities for state agencies is soliciting bids for office space in Topeka, Manhattan and Great Bend, Garden City and/or Dodge City.
Agriculture department official Max Foster said Monday the department’s lease in an office building in downtown Topeka ends Sept. 30, 2013.
Secretary of Agriculture Dale Rodman said in a statement that the department has been working for the past six months to find a space that meets all the department’s needs.
“As KDA receives more information about all possibilities, we will begin reviewing all available options while focusing on the core responsibilities of the department and providing those in the most efficient and effective manner possible,” Rodman said.
The bid solicitations being published in newspapers statewide say the department needs space for 20 to 180 workers. It has some 172 employees in its Topeka office and would like to have the new space ready for moving in on Oct. 1, 2013.
State office space is managed by the Department of Administration’s Office of Facilities and Property Management. Director Mark McGivern said the agency keeps tabs on rates in Topeka and places where the state has an interest in renting.
“Typically, there’s chambers of commerce or real estate committees and you can get market info for that particular market if you just know the right person to talk to,” McGivern said.
Doug Kinsinger, president and CEO of the Greater Topeka Chamber of Commerce, said there was an economic benefit to having state agencies located in Topeka, a number of which have locations within walking distance of the Statehouse.
“Our position has always been that the capital is the most suitable place for the departments and especially their head offices,” Kinsinger said. “We’ve had many dialogues with Gov. (Sam) Brownback and his administration about that.”
In addition to state government, Topeka is home to offices of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Kansas Grain and Soybean Association, Kansas Feed and Seed, Kansas Soybean Association, Kansas Co-op Association and Kansas Livestock Association.


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