Last January, a modern suite of offices very close to the Stillwater Station came on the market. For several years, the national leadership of both organizations have been considering ways of providing for the needs of the National Headquarters staff and to expand the services that it offers. This building, which we call the Annex, not only meets the needs of the organizations for years to come, it was much less expensive than any options that included renovation or expansion of the Stillwater Station.
During this time of the COVID-19 pandemic, this space will also allow the National Headquarters to reopen sooner and with greater physical distancing and safety.
The Stillwater Station and the Annex are great assets that will greatly serve the membership of both organizations, our chapters, our alumni and the band programs that we serve!
The photos and FAQ below will answer many of your questions. For more information, please contact Steve Nelson, National Executive Director at firstname.lastname@example.org
Tell me about this new Annex building!
The Annex is actually two buildings that were remodeled a few years ago to become one conjoined office building.
The building in excellent shape with fresh paint and new flooring, and includes the following:
- Seven walled offices, fully wired for networking and phone.
- A large conference room, suitable for meetings of up to 15 people.
- A large multipurpose room that can be used for meetings and classes of 30 or more individuals.
- Three bathrooms, two of which are fully ADA compatible.
- A large storage room that will store a variety items, including chapter files, AV equipment, office supplies and more.
- A large mailing/shipping room that will allow for centralized deliveries and preparation of mailings and shipments.
- An outdoor courtyard that may eventually serve as a small outdoor event space.
- Convenient parking on two sides of the building for both staff and visitors.
Where is the Annex located?
The Annex is located at 215 E 9th Avenue, just two blocks west of the National Headquarters. A quick 3-4 minute walk door-to-door.
How was this property discovered?
For a couple of years, the national leadership has been discussing options to address overcrowding issues at the National Headquarters and how to plan for the future needs of the organizations.
The Stillwater Station has been our headquarters for 28 years, and has served us very well, but we’ve reached the point where it is overcrowded and lacks any ready means for growth. Members of the national leaderships, and a special Joint Facilities Action Team have been considering several options, all of which would require significant investments of time and funds.
Last January, Executive Director Steve Nelson had a chance discussion with a local realtor about commercial space available in Stillwater and learned that the Annex building was coming onto the market.
Without building additional space at the National Headquarters which would be extremely costly, the Annex is the closest possible pre-existing office space that we could hope to acquire. After touring the building and seeing the possibilities it has for solving many of the needs of the organizations for the next few decades, Steve presented the idea of purchasing the building to the national councils and boards of trustees.
How was the decision to purchase the building made?
Members of the Boards of Trustees traveled to Stillwater, both physically and virtually, in February, to see the building in person. A decision to purchase the Annex was voted on by both Boards of Trustees and supported by both National Councils and the project moved forward. The purchase was closed on April 1st and finalized on April 3rd.
What will happen to the Stillwater Station?
Current plans are for half the staff to work in the Annex and half in the Stillwater Station. This will not only keep both buildings functioning, but also to allow more time to properly assess how both spaces will provide for the organizations’ needs. It will also provide much needed physical distancing needed during this time of the COVID-19 pandemic. In that sense, it is fortuitous timing that will benefit the health and safety of the NHQ staff.
The overall vision of the Stillwater Station is that it will continue to house the fraternity and sorority archives, be the focal point of the headquarters because of the Wava Garden, and the KKY Caboose. Much of the space will be reorganized for meetings but can also be used for additional office space if needed.
Isn’t it risky purchasing a building during these uncertain times?
While there is impact on the budgets of both organizations, the Boards feel that both organizations are able to manage it. There are lots of uncertainties due to the pandemic but we believe that we will thrive once the dangers pass.
Will anything change from an operations perspective?
From an outside perspective, our chapters and alumni should not see many changes. Our phone numbers and mailing addresses will remain the same. A new address will be used for any UPS or FEDEX type shipments.
Internally, the staff will be split between both buildings but the close proximities of the building will be ideal for maintaining staff camaraderie, interactions and work efficiencies.
Will the membership or chapters have to change anything they are doing?
Only when it comes to shipping packages to the National Headquarters.
- US Postal Mail will still be sent to PO Box 849, Stillwater, OK 74076
- UPS/FEDEX shipments will go to 215 E 9th Ave., Stillwater, OK 74074
When can we visit the Annex?
This is a great question and we look forward to having visitors at both the Stillwater Station and the Annex. However, for the time being we will be observing a strict no visitors policy at both locations, for social distancing needs.
When will the Annex open and will there be a ceremony or celebration?
The National Headquarters is mostly closed due to COVID-19 and we don’t have a firm date yet for when it will be safe to reopen. That decision will be made by the National Executive Director, in consultation with the staff and in accord with state and city requirements. NHQ staff are working in staggered shifts now but won’t fully reopen until the conditions allow for it. A dedication ceremony is in the planning stages and may have to be done virtually. All that is to be determined, as you can expect.
Can we afford to operate two buildings?
The Annex building is a much more modern facility than the Depot. Some of the costs associated with operating the Depot will shift to the Annex. There will be an increase in utility costs but they will be less than what the Depot costs.
What sorts of meetings will take place in both buildings?
Another great question! The meeting spaces available at both the Depot and Annex will allow for small groups and larger groups of up to 100 people. Without social distancing concerns, this will be perfect for meetings of the National Councils, Boards of Trustees, and the National Leadership Conference during non national convention years.
Can I buy a brick at the annex too?
We don’t currently have that in the plans but it’s possible that there might be something equivalent to that in the future.
Is there a separate phone number for calls to the annex?
The National Headquarters is shifting to a very cost friendly VOIP phone system that will allow seamless access between both the Depot and the Annex. You will still call the same 405-372-2333 main number to reach staff at both buildings.
Is one building owned by one organization and one building owned by the other? How does that work?
Kappa Kappa Psi and Tau Beta Sigma have “undivided interest” in both buildings. That means that all property is equally owned by both organizations.
How are you planning to reopen the offices during the COVID-19 crisis?
National Executive Director Steve Nelson is working with the NHQ staff on a phased-reopening plan. We certainly need to protect everyone’s health to the best of our abilities and will be maintaining the use of social distancing, mask wearing in common areas, regular sanitizing of both the Station and the Annex, and restricting visitors for the time being.
A lot of the moving and setup of the Annex has been completed, but there are still many files and other items that need to be relocated. Stillwater Station also needs quite a bit of reorganization now that half of the staff has moved to the Annex. Both buildings will be works in progress for some time.
We are very grateful for the additional space and functionality, but it will take us time, especially right now, to get things organized properly.