Now located in a new headquarters facility complete with up-to-date technology and modern functionality, Grundy County REC is ready for the cooperative's ninth decade of service to members.
With an offer from the neighboring Grundy County Memorial Hospital to buy Grundy County REC's building and grounds, the Grundy County REC board of directors approved the sale of the cooperative's original facility in October 2015. The board then began plans for a new facility in the Grundy Center Development Park on the north side of town. The decision was made shortly after current Executive Vice President and General Manager Vicki Daily was hired.
"Our old building had outlived its usefulness for Grundy County REC," Daily explained. "However, because of the building's size and condition, it could take on new purposes for a new owner."
Built in 1952, the cooperative's former headquarters had gone through several additions and renovations over the years. When its appliance service was discontinued in May of 2015, a large part of the building was left empty. The cooperative found it needed to accommodate changing technology and industrial standards, not the least of which was having adequate space for larger bucket trucks.
Planning and construction of the new facility took approximately a year to complete. Grundy County REC purchased land in the Grundy Center Development Park, a location that allows the co-op to provide electricity to itself. Single Source 1, Waterloo, was hired as the architect and master builder for the project.
The 15,000-square-foot facility includes a boardroom, seven offices, a break room, file room, vault, restrooms and an information technology room. The warehouse includes three bays for large trucks and six bays for smaller vehicles, a cold storage area, a break room and restrooms.
Energy efficiency was at top of mind in the planning process. The facility includes geothermal heating and cooling, in-floor electric heat in the warehouse and LED lighting. A u-shaped floor plan accommodates two exits and natural light is incorporated throughout, along with shades that can be used to either block or access sunlight.
The boardroom was designed with several purposes in mind. The tables can be configured as one large unit for board meetings or can also break apart into smaller tables set up for classroom style learning and employee meetings.
The new location will allow the cooperative to locate its pole yard next to the new facility. Previously, poles had to be stored at a location off-site from the headquarters building, necessitating an extra stop for line personnel on their way to job sites or outage repairs.
Personnel moved into the new building Jan. 25. Landscaping work will be finished this spring.
"The new headquarters is a testament to our long-term commitment to serve our members and be an active partner of economic development projects for our communities. This cooperative will be 81 years old it's been around a long time. It makes me proud to be part of a co-op that has such a long history of rural electrification and serving members in this area," Daily said.
Grundy County Memorial Hospital now leases the co-op's former location to the YMCA for a fitness center.
The cooperative will be open on Thursday, March 30 from 3:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. for tours and refreshments, with a ribbon cutting scheduled for 3:30 p.m. The new headquarters is located at 303 North Park Avenue, Grundy Center.