Two years ago, the Legislature asked the Bureau of Administration to develop a long-range plan for state-owned buildings in the Pierre/ Ft. Pierre area. This included the Capitol, buildings on the Capitol complex, and leased spaces. The. The Bureau was to assess the amount of workspace in state-owned buildings and leased buildings, analyze future needs, and find ways to improve efficiency.
I believe the plan is timely, particularly in light of two fairly recent factors.
One is the nationwide trend toward remote work. What started as a COVID-19 precaution with many employees doing their jobs from home, is expected to continue. More than half of companies around the world (56%) are hybrid or fully remote companies. According to Future Workforce Report, the number of remote workers is expected to nearly double the pre-pandemic level in the next five years.
Another is the opportunity to expand the State Health Lab, which will allow all of the Department of Health staff to be in one location. Currently, the Department has staff in the Hays Building next to the Capitol, as well as in the State Health Lab near the north end of Hilger’s Gulch.
The plan is designed to enhance efficiency and improve public service by maximizing the Pierre Campus building space and consolidating leased space where appropriate. The Bureau of Administration Nicollet Building will be vacated and demolished, and the Paul Kinsman Building will be expanded to accommodate all of Buildings and Grounds in one efficient operation.
The proposal includes consolidating all of the Secretary of State’s staff and the Unified Judicial System staff in the Capitol, having all of the Department of Social Services in the Kneip Building, and putting the Bureau of Human Resources and Bureau of Administration (with the exception of Buildings and Grounds) in the Dolly-Reed Plaza. The Governor’s Office of Economic Development and the Department of Tourism will move to the Hays Building and Capitol Lake Visitor Center.
As the State of South Dakota works to make the best use of tax dollars, serve the public, and be an employer of choice, having attractive and efficient workspaces is important.