The Colorado Department of Corrections’ southern Colorado office expects to begin an official search for a new location by the end of the year.

The regional headquarters is at 2862 Janitell Road in Colorado Springs, where the agency leases the entire 65,000-square-foot building. That lease expires during 2010.

A request for proposals will be distributed to cities and towns along the Front Range later this year.

Richard Weems, director of Facilities Management Services, said that nearly 250 employees work at the facility, but based on projections, the DOC will soon outgrow its space.

“We are in the process of examining what we’ll need long term – five, 10 or 20 years from now,” he said. “Possibilities include another leased location – or even a design-build structure where we actually own the building and lease part of the space to another state agency.”

The prospect of snagging a regional DOC office has already generated inquiries from several communities.

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One of the most important criteria is easy access to Interstate 25, Weems said, adding that many of the department’s employees must make regular trips to Denver. He also said the DOC has alerted the Colorado Springs Economic Development Corp. about its need for expanded facilities.