Clients use the resources at the new workforce center, Monday, October 7, 2019, at the new Wyoming Department of Workforce Services building. The department consolidated all its functions into the new building, and all services are now in the same area to make access easier. Nadav Soroker/Wyoming Tribune Eagle

CHEYENNE – After previously being housed at four locations across Cheyenne, the Wyoming Department of Workforce Service finished moving into a centralized space last week.

The transition, which started Sept. 16, was complete once the building’s 234 employees finished gradually moving into the new location at 5221 Yellowstone Road. The building used to house a Sutherlands home improvement store and has since been converted into office space.

The department started looking for a new space in early 2018, department Standards and Compliance Administrator Jason Wolfe said. It will pay a monthly lease that lasts 18 years with an option to buy.

“If it’s something the state wants to do, and that has to go through a lot of different channels to purchase a property, it’s an option within the lease that we can buy the space if we want to and the landlord is agreeable,” Wolfe said.

The department will pay just under $1.4 million for the first year of the lease, according to department spokesman Ty Stockton. That’s about $32,000 less than the total annual cost of leasing the previous four locations.

The new location will allow the department to operate more smoothly, Stockton said Monday. The Department of Workforce Services connects employees with employers and provides assistance with workers’ compensation, unemployment benefits and other programs.

“It was a lot of wasted time driving across town,” Stockton said of the previous locations.

Wolfe noted that having the workers’ compensation division in-house with other divisions that citizens might be referred to will be beneficial.

“I think, over time, we’ll see even more efficiencies,” Wolfe said.

With 20 field offices statewide, the centralized location will also make it easier for department workers coming from other parts of the state, Stockton said.

“A lot of times, they don’t come just to meet with administration,” Stockton said. “They come for workers’ comp or nurse case managers or whatever. Now, they’re all in the same building.”

While workers have finished moving into the facility, final stages of construction are expected to be completed in the next week, Wolfe said.

Along with office spaces, the renovated building includes a conference room that can hold up to 250 people and will be available for various state agencies to use.

“I think all of state government will enjoy this,” Wolfe said of the spacious conference room.

The new location currently lacks a bus stop, but the plan is to set one up with Cheyenne Transit Authority in the next few weeks, Wolfe said.

The department has several divisions, including Vocational Rehabilitation, the Cheyenne Workforce Center, Wyoming Occupational Safety and Health Administration, Labor Standards Division, Disability Determination Services and Workers’ Compensation.

The divisions were previously spread between locations on Pershing Boulevard, South Greeley Highway, East Lincolnway and another spot on Yellowstone Road.

Tom Coulter is the Wyoming Tribune Eagle’s state government reporter. He can be reached at tcoulter@wyomingnews.com or 307-633-3124. Follow him on Twitter at @tomcoulter_.

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