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Society's on the Move

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Society's on the Move

Article excerpt

SPJ's new Indianapolis HQ to provide room for growth

The Society of Professional Journalists (spj) will move its headquarters from Greencastle, Ind., to Indianapolis by July 2000, citing a need to be located in a larger city with access to a greater labor pool and in a larger facility where it can expand its staff of 15.

spj and its foundation, Sigma Delta Chi (sdx), will pay up to $1 million to purchase, build out, wire, and furnish their new digs in Indianapolis, according to spj and sdx executive director Jim Gray. One feature needed beyond its present 5,000-square-foot building near the DePauw University campus in Greencastle is extra space to expand its staff and to hold seminars and meetings of its constituency.

The building purchase will mark the first time in its 90-year history that spj has owned its headquarters.

"It will be a place we can truly call home and have more control over our destiny and not be subject to whims of landlords," Gray says. "The move to Indianapolis presents an opportunity to spj as a business [to build] a more diverse labor pool to recruit from. The city has become an important hub for trade and not-for-profit centers, and a center for philanthropy."

The vote of the spj board at a special meeting in August concluded a more than yearlong facilities-search process, spurred along by the terms of the current spj/sdx lease, which expires July 2000.

By spring 1999, the board narrowed down future-site proposals to Indiana University/Purdue University of Indianapolis (iupui) and Depauw in Greencastle. In the end, both proposals were rejected because they didn't meet the space requirements of the board.

But portions of the iupui proposal remained very attractive to the board, including iupui's offer to extend an "agency agreement" so that office purchase discounts, university health insurance, and other benefits would be available to spj and sdx.

"I'm delighted that they are going to be in town. I think it's a good decision," says Jim Brown, associate dean of the Indiana University school of journalism. "It's my understanding they still want to do the agency agreement. We will be eager to help them out."

Although Gray was unwilling to name the building the group is interested in, other sources say the free-standing building is 15 minutes from the iupui campus in downtown Indianapolis, along one of the main streets. …

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