I’m a big fan of using premium WordPress themes over free ones. The premium ones generally give you some nice options on the backend that makes changing the original look a bit easier, they offer you forums to get your questions answered and they look a lot nicer than most all the ones you will find for free. While it may seem like a pretty big investment to make (it’s actually only @$70), if you do your homework I can’t imagine you being happier with $70 spent in a publications room. I’m pretty fond of Solostream and Woothemes when I need a premium theme. They have lots of great options and good support. If you’d like some other options, I found a great list of premium wordpress themes here.
Your staff should explore as many themes as possible before they choose ‘The One.’ Once they do, make sure they morph and tweak it to make it their own.