Indiana’s restructured Office of Judicial Administration will get new digs at a lower cost later this year, officials said.
The agencies of the Indiana Supreme Court that oversee state court functions will move from current rented space in the Kite Realty Group Building at 30 S. Meridian St. in downtown Indianapolis to the Capital Center South Tower at 201 N. Illinois St. “We are saving money moving, and this puts us closer to the Statehouse,” said Supreme Court spokeswoman Kathryn Dolan.
“We were nearing the end of our 10-year lease with 30 South, and that prompted us to explore our options going forward,” said Office of Judicial Administration Chief Administrative Officer Mary Willis. “We consider it a very nice location for us for the next 10 years.”
Court staff will begin moving into the new offices in mid-December, and the transition is expected to be completed no later than early January. A lease at Capital Center was signed earlier this year.
The new location is only about a block-and-a-half from the Statehouse, compared with the current space that’s about three blocks away. The roughly 185 workers moving to the new location, though, will lose the wintertime luxury they now have of an indoor or underground walk connecting administrative offices with the Capitol complex.
Brenda Rodeheffer, general counsel for personnel and operations for the OJA, said the move will save the state millions over the course of the new 10-year lease. She said the courts began shopping for new space last August because the lease is up at the end of this year. Court officials looked at six properties, including the current location, before deciding on Capital Center. Leased space costs over the next 10 years are expected to be about $10 million, she said.
Supreme Court outreach coordinator Sarah Kidwell said the court paid almost $13.8 million over the term of its current lease. “We are in the position of paying $3,817,063.41 less for the next 10 years,” she said in an email.
Willis said department managers were able to tour the new space and make sure it met needs, but some remodeling to reconfigure existing layouts will be required before the move. “Even with modest growth over the next 10 years, we wanted to have departments organized in a way that would work best for us,” she said.
The court administration division will occupy about 60,000 square feet on several floors of the Capital Center, compared to space on just two floors of the current location. Court offices will take part of floor five, technology groups will occupy floor seven, court services will take floor eight, and new administrative offices will be on the 16th floor.
In addition to cost and proximity to the Capitol, Rodeheffer said a key consideration for a new office location was adequate conference space for frequent court committee meetings and training sessions. She said the new location has ample space available for the court staff and visitors to use. “We want to make sure this is organized in a logical format for people coming to our offices,” she said.
Court staff have already begun paring down what they’ll take with them to their new space. “It’s really been an opportunity for us to move to a more paperless” office environment, Rodeheffer said. “We’ve reduced the number of filing cabinets we’re taking over, so that’s good progress.” Workers have been purging paper, shredding outdated documents, scanning those they can convert into digital formats, and trying to keep as little paper as possible, she said.
Willis said the coming move resulted from an evaluation of current space and future needs to make sure the court staff had sufficient room and that offices aligned with the departmental restructuring that came about with the establishment of the OJA last year.
“We had a good experience at 30 South,” Willis said. “I think everyone’s prepared for that big move.”•