Workforce Solutions North Texas (WSNT) will become one of the newest – and largest – tenants of the Big Blue building in downtown Wichita Falls.

Workforce Solutions provides services to employers and job seekers in 11 North Texas communities. It receives funding from the U.S. Department of Labor, through the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC).

Executive Director Mona Statser said began considering the move after a state legislative decision to incorporate vocational rehabilitative services under the TWC.

There were two vocational rehab service offices in the area – one in Graham and the other in Wichita Falls. The three employees from the Graham office moved in with WSNT at the end of July.

“We needed to move in together by September of this year,” Statser said. “There is a lot of stuff we have to do to get to that point.”

She said the lease at the current location of their board offices is up at the end of August, so they will be the first to make the move.

The movement of offices and where they locate is coordinated at the state level, Statser said.

After the Graham offices were moved, it was clear they would need more space to contain all the employees at the other vocational rehab location and WSNT offices.

Big Blue building owner Will Kelty, left, talks with Mona Statser and James Cunningham Tuesday in one of the spaces Statser’s Workforce Solutions North Texas will occupy later this month.

Big Blue building owner Will Kelty, left, talks with Mona Statser and James Cunningham Tuesday in one of the spaces Statser’s Workforce Solutions North Texas will occupy later this month.

Big Blue building owner Will Kelty, left, talks with Mona Statser and James Cunningham Tuesday in one of the spaces Statser’s Workforce Solutions North Texas will occupy later this month.1 of 9

Mona Statser, executive director of Workforce Solutions North Texas, enjoys the view from what will become her corner office on the eighth floor of Big Blue overlooking Park Central and downtown. Statser has never had a window in her office in her previous years of employment and will now have four.

Downtown office building icon First Wichita building, also known as Big Blue, will be home to Workforce Solutions North Texas by the end of the month.

Mona Statser, executive director of Workforce Solutions North Texas, talks about renovations with Will Kelty, owner of Big Blue, one of the most prominent office buildings in Wichita Falls. WSNT is moving its offices into the eighth floor of of the building at Eighth and Scott streets.

James Cunningham replaves a panel after working on an air conditioning unit in an office at Big Blue. Worlforce Solutions North Texas will be moving to the building by the end of the month.
Custom wallpaper in a former oil company headquarters in Big Blue harkens back to the 1960s. Renovations are underway for the new offices of Workforce Solutions North Texas.

Another office space to be occupied by Workforce Solutions North Texas in the Big Blue building downtown. Some spaces have a vintage feel with custom woodwork and others need total refurbishment.

The First Wichita building, also known as Big Blue, will be the new home of Workforce Solutions North Texas later this month. Renovation of approximately 3,000 square feet of office space is underway.

Maintenance technician James Cunningham displays a 1960s television antenna found in a cabinet of an office being renovated in Big Blue downtown. Workforce Solutions North Texas will move their offices in later this month.

Different areas were considered, and the WSNT board accepted a proposal for office space in Big Blue in June.

Statser said 10 years ago, before WSNT moved into their current location at the First Texas building, they considered locating in Big Blue.

“There was a lot more people in it back then,” she said.

Big Blue stood vacant for a number of years, but, due to the efforts by building owner Will Kelty, it is headed for a come back.

Altogether, there are more than 60 WSNT employees that will be moving to the building.

“Where everyone is, there is currently no space. It will also have an additional conference rooms and computers,” Statser said.

Board member offices will be located on the eighth floor, and other offices will be on the seventh and third floors and the second floor annex.

Moving all the offices into the new location could take some time, and Statser did not have a definitive completion date for the move.

Once they are ready for business, Statser said Big Blue has many amenities for their clients.

The spacious lobby, she said, will be perfect for hosting job fairs.

Custom wallpaper in a former oil company headquarters in Big Blue harkens back to the 1960s. Renovations are underway for the new offices of Workforce Solutions North Texas.Buy Photo
Custom wallpaper in a former oil company headquarters in Big Blue harkens back to the 1960s. Renovations are underway for the new offices of Workforce Solutions North Texas. (Photo: Torin Halsey/Times Record News, )
The central location in the heart of the city will be ADA-compliant, accessible and close to the travel center.

“We (WSNT) have always been located on bus routes to make sure people could use that to come see us,” Statser said. “Being near the travel center, maybe people can come here directly instead of taking another bus.”

Having all their offices under one roof will be beneficial, Statser said, as they regularly refer clients between departments for services.

Kelty said they are pleased with this partnership with WSNT.

Due to WSNT moving in, he said it prompted them to install another elevator and add more air-conditioning units.

“From literally one tenant in October of last year, we now have about 30 tenants,” he said.

The renovation they are doing on the building, he said, would not be possible without this influx of new tenants.

Work was ongoing Tuesday to spruce up the soon-to-be-inhabited floors at the downtown building.

Maintenance technician James Cunningham displays a 1960s television antenna found in a cabinet of an office being renovated in Big Blue downtown. Workforce Solutions North Texas will move their offices in later this month.

Maintenance technician James Cunningham displays a 1960s television antenna found in a cabinet of an office being renovated in Big Blue downtown. Workforce Solutions North Texas will move their offices in later this month.

Statser said she picked out a room for her new office on the eighth floor that had forest green carpet and four large windows overlooking the city.

It will be a big change, she said, as her current office does not have any windows.

While there is work to be done over the next several months, Staster said it will all be worth it to provide additional space, technology and improved services to many people in the North Texas area.