CHEYENNE – The first state employees moved their offices into the Herschler Building’s east wing more than a year ago, in spring 2018. As the staff has been adjusting to the new space, project coordinators have had to do some adjusting as issues with the project arose.
Since employees began work, project staff has added blinds because the light was too bright for computer users, adjusted the HVAC system to fix issues with heat and air conditioning, and started the repair process on a repurposed elevator that wasn’t working.
“Just as there is with any project of this magnitude, there’s going to be some growing pains that need to be worked out,” said Tony Ross, chairman of the Capitol Rehabilitation and Restoration Oversight Group.
One issue that is still on the table, though, is the noise level in the new space.
“Certainly, when we were looking at what the Treasurer’s Office was going to look like, I was surprised by the acoustics,” Gov. Mark Gordon told the Wyoming Tribune Eagle’s editorial board last week. “What I was particularly surprised by is the sound-proof cubicles are proving to actually amplify the sound.”
Architectural Project Manager Suzanne Norton said that while the project looks “wrapped up” on the outside, its completion will still take a number of months. Once the project is finished, she said they will look into issues that need to be fixed.
“We are working toward compiling a final list of what everyone needs to be able to do their work in the buildings that were affected by the project,” Norton said.
Once the work is finished, Norton said they will “figure out where the budget lands and see what other things we might be able to afford.”
The Herschler Building’s east wing is now home to the Wyoming Department of Education, Wyoming State Engineer’s Office, the state auditor’s office and the Wyoming Department of Revenue.
Dan Noble, director of the Department of Revenue, said his department hasn’t had any problems with acoustics.
“That is something you do have to deal with, is the fact that there are some issues with being able to hear from one room to the next,” Noble said.
He said his department has mostly been adjusting to the new space.
“I think a lot of it was trying to get used to the fact that you’re in a different type of environment from what you had before,” Noble said.
Norton also attributed some of the adjustment issues to the new open-concept design.
“Moving to an open work space is a different environment,” Norton said. “There’s been a lot of change for everyone.”
Wyoming Superintendent of Public Instruction Jillian Balow said the open concept design has increased collaboration with department employees and that the new common spaces have been great.
Over the past year, employees who work in the east wing have dealt with inconsistent heat and air conditioning, along with power shortages. Some employees even brought in space heaters to stay warm.
According to Facilities Manager Taner Norton, the building is currently “flying smooth” in terms of the HVAC system and power supply.
“Yes, there have been some things happen that we wish hadn’t,” Norton said. “Thankfully, we are in the home stretch.”
He said the process was completed in phases, which impacted how the complex HVAC system worked at the start.
Gordon also said the issues will be looked at before the project is complete.
“They have to be addressed before the full sign-off on the building and everything else is done,” he said. “Those things have to be addressed.”