Open spaces, communication and environmental responsibility were the focuses of the recent $5.5 million renovation to the Council of State Governments building off of Lexington's Iron Works Pike.
The property has been home to the council since 1969. The organization represents all 50 states, six U.S. territories and three Canadian provinces. The offices regularly draw visiting leaders from other states.
The building had a very Mad Men feel, with dated offices and furnishings, said David Adkins, council executive director and chief executive officer.
After the state-funded renovation, large windows provide a nearly 360-degree view of the surrounding farmland. "It's hard to be in a bad mood at work when this is your view," said Kelley Arnold, director of membership, marketing and media.
The council, which was founded in 1933, is tasked with being a nonpartisan resource for all branches of state governments. The organization works to find solutions to such multistate issues as serving veterans, policing and more.
The newly renovated building will help the headquarters' 90 employees be productive, Arnold said.
"We wanted this space to be put together in a way that reflected" the work being done, Adkins said. "It's open, airy and transparent."
Several hubs with couches are tucked throughout the building to allow employees to get away from their desks and discuss issues, Arnold said.
"I'm a strong believer that the design of a space impacts how people choose to work," Adkins said. "This space provides open space for collaborating."
Since the council's headquarters moved to Lexington from Chicago, employees have enjoyed the rural setting, Adkins said.
Lexington won the bid in 1985 to continue housing the council over several other cities, including New Orleans, Indianapolis and Chicago.
Now, the council pays $1 a year for the multimillion-dollar facility.
In addition to the low rent, the Lexington location provides a perspective outside cities that serve as state capitals.
The organization also has regional offices in New York City, Atlanta, Chicago and Sacramento, Calif., and satellite offices in Seattle; Austin, Texas; and Bethesda, Md.