Utility firms line up new headquarters
Two Grand Valley utility companies are sinking more than $15 million into new headquarters, replacing old office space and cramped storage areas with modern facilities while simultaneously breathing some life into the struggling local economy.
Grand Valley Power will break ground Wednesday on a $10.8 million office building, warehouse and storage yard at 845 22 Road. That 17.3-acre location is just to the north of where contractors are constructing Ute Water Conservancy District’s new $5 million administration building and warehouse on 17.9 acres at 2190 H 1/4 Road.
Grand Valley Power spokesman Bill Byers said the utility’s board of directors has spent the past three or four years planning a move.
“We’ve just really outgrown this facility,” he said.
After 53 years at 2727 Grand Ave., the company and its 42 employees will move into a 38,600-square-foot facility that is more than double the size of the current office. In that time, Grand Valley Power’s customer base has grown by 3,400 customers to nearly 17,000, Byers said.
“In the long-term and even in the short-term, we think by doing this we’ll be able to provide better customer service, more and better customer efficiency,” he said.
That’s partly because, he said, the current storage yard isn’t large enough to store the materials the utility needs when the local economy is doing well.
Grand Valley Power’s new office building will be environmentally friendly, too, boasting a geothermal heating system and a series of solar panels that will provide a portion of its electrical power.
The groundbreaking will follow on the heels of Grand Valley Power closing last week on its purchase of roughly 17 acres from Ute Water, which bought a total of 48 acres.
The Grand Valley’s largest domestic water provider, which serves about 85,000 customers, began construction on its new 39,800-square-foot building last September.
Ute Water’s 77 employees will move out of their current location at 560 25 Road, which is only 6,200 square feet in size and was built in the early 1960s, utility spokesman Joe Burtard said.
“We’re basically working on top of each other here,” he said, adding that increased traffic has made it difficult for employees to turn onto 25 Road.
Burtard said the larger facility will allow Ute Water to store more inventory while still offering customers the same conveniences as the old location, such as a drive-through where they can pay their bills.
Construction on Grand Valley Power’s new headquarters should be done, with employees ready to move in, by the end of the year.
Ute Water’s new building should be done in June, although Burtard said he’s not sure when employees will relocate.
Both utilities said they took advantage of low construction prices and interest rates and a competitive bidding environment, with Grand Valley Power saving $1.5 million on its project and Ute Water saving $1.2 million.