Archdiocesan offices to move to single location

Reduced costs, responsible stewardship, greater staff unity and collaboration.

Those are some of the benefits expected from a plan to relocate the offices of the Archdiocese of Omaha to new quarters in northwest Omaha. Archbishop George J. Lucas announced the move June 18.

The archdiocese is purchasing an office building near 111th and Blondo streets formerly occupied by the Lindsay Corporation.

The 29,500-square-foot facility will become home to the archdiocese’s 73 employees now working at two Omaha locations: the archdiocese’s Chancery at 62nd and Dodge streets and the Archbishop Daniel E. Sheehan Center at 60th and Northwest Radial Highway.

The buildings on both campuses will be put up for sale to help cover a significant part of the $4.8 million purchase.

The move is an effort to exercise good stewardship of the archdiocese’s resources, the archbishop said.

“The cost to maintain our aging buildings takes a larger portion of our budget year by year,” he said. “Good stewardship directs us to find a way to use the resources entrusted to us to serve the mission of the church more responsibly.”

Archbishop Lucas said he expects operating costs will be reduced significantly over the years because the building the archdiocese is purchasing is only 10 years old.

The four buildings that make up the Sheehan Center are nearly 100 years old and previously housed St. James Orphanage. About 50 years ago, those buildings were repurposed for use by archdiocesan offices. The Chancery has been in use since 1962.

The facilities on the Sheehan campus are increasingly in need of repairs and maintenance, and do not utilize space efficiently, said Troy Merkel, facilities director for the archdiocese.

“Things have reached their useful life expectancy,” he said, including the HVAC units, boiler units, lighting and some roofs.

The new building will offer more efficient use of space, and better lighting and heating/ventilation/air conditioning (HVAC) systems including automated control systems, Merkel said.

“It is a well-built building, but not luxurious,” he said. “You can tell the construction was done for longevity and sustainability.”

In addition to physical improvements, the move also will allow for greater interaction and collaboration between staff currently spread between several buildings.

“One of my pastoral priorities, creating a culture of unity, will be further supported by this move,” Archbishop Lucas said.

The decision to purchase the building was made by the archbishop in consultation with the Archdiocese of Omaha Finance Council (a group of priests and lay experts in finance and business) and the College of Consultors (a consultative group of priests). The two groups approved the purchase.

Archdiocesan officials have been considering such a move for several years. They toured and evaluated various properties that were eliminated from consideration as too expensive, needing cost-prohibitive renovations or failing to create a culture of unity for employees.

The new facility includes private offices as well as open work areas, several conference rooms, a large training/conference room, lunchroom, and room for expansion if needed.

Relocation of employees is expected to be completed by year-end.

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