With a potential new headquarters, Todd-Wadena Electric Cooperative could be breaking ground this year. The proposed new headquarters would be built on TWEC’s current property, beginning with open land to the west before demoing the current structure. The garages in the back will stay as they are.
TWEC’s board of directors has been preparing for this decision since 2012 by gathering information from employees and board members as well as experts who analyzed the building, made blueprints and gave cost estimates. Due to the current building being constructed in 1949, the board weighed remodeling versus building new but decided the possible option is rebuilding for cost efficiencies and quality, according to TWEC member service manager Allison Uselman.
The current building lacks elements that negatively impact members and employees at TWEC, such as a poor heating and cooling system, flooding in the lower level parking that previously impacted hosting events in the basement, brick deterioration, unproductive square footage and insulation.
“Efficiencies alone as far as the employees is a big thing, you know just office placement, supplies placement, you know are things divided between 18 different closets and everybody’s walking all over the place … just efficiency of workflow,” Uselman said.
The possible new elements serving members better is a key focus of the board members, according to Uselman. With this in mind, the new headquarters would include conference rooms for members to discuss questions or concerns or simply have a meeting.
Uselman also envisions a display area in the lobby where members and students could learn about load management, energy efficiency, beneficial electrification and their new battery powered tool rebate. The displays would include the elements themselves, such as a battery powered leaf blower, electric vehicle charger, electric bike, water heater and air source heat pump, as well as reading materials on how these things work.
“Before I got here I was like, ‘I don’t know why an air source heat pump is better, I mean it looks like an air conditioner, right,’” Uselman said. “I think it’ll be really good to have that hands on piece where members can learn, and ultimately for them it’s to save them money.”
The community focus is also for local contractors. The designs have been completed by Contegrity Group and TWEC is now accepting bids for the new construction. Bids are due by March 12 at 2 p.m. and details can be found at https://www.cgiplanroom.com/. The board will make their final decision on going forward with the headquarters project after the bids are submitted.