The Kansas State Department of Education will soon move out of the building it has occupied for decades and into another state-owned office building that offers more room.
Education Commissioner Diane DeBacker made that announcement at the Kansas State Board of Education's regular monthly meeting Tuesday.
The decision by the Department of Administration to relocate the agency into a state-owned building surprised some people since that agency had gone out for bids twice in the last year and a half to find other privately owned office space for lease.
In the end, though, DeBacker said the administration adopted a new philosophy about leasing office space.
"They've made it clear that if a state agency is going to lease any space, they're going to lease it from their own landlord, which is the state of Kansas," DeBacker said.
KSDE currently pays about $640,000 a year to lease the Scott Building in downtown Topeka, where the agency has been located since at least the 1960s. That lease was originally set to expire at the end of this year. KSDE officials say the agency has outgrown the building and now needs more space.
At one point last year the agency announced plans to move into a bank building at Eighth and Jackson, just northeast of the Kansas Statehouse. But that contract was never finalized and the state ended up soliciting new bids.
Now, according to DeBacker, the state has decided to move the agency into the Landon State Office Building, which is directly east of the Statehouse on Jackson Avenue.
DeBacker said the move will begin next fall and should be completed by Jan. 1, 2014.