Work Begins On SVEC’s $16M Headquarters 

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VIC BRADSHAW Daily News-Record

PUBLICATION: Daily News-Record (Harrisonburg, VA)

SECTION: Harrisonburg
DATE: October 30, 2016
HARRISONBURG — Work has begun on the Shenandoah Valley Electric Cooperative’s new, $16 million headquarters just north of Mount Crawford.
A building permit application filed with Rockingham County on Oct. 13 indicates Harman Construction is to be paid that amount to put up a three-story steel, pre-engineered building and a one-story steel, pre-engineered garage at 70 Oakwood Drive. The co-op paid $735,000 for 18 acres just off South Valley Pike in April.Michael Hastings, SVEC‘s president and CEO, said site work began at the location on Oct. 9, and the project is slated for completion in the spring of 2018.The new building will consolidate operations at two SVEC locations — its headquarters on Dinkel Avenue in Mount Crawford and a customer service, warehouse, vehicle maintenance and field operations office on West Mosby Road on Dayton’s eastern edge. Those structures have about 65,000 square feet under roof.Hastings said the new building will be about 90,000 square feet and features drive-through lanes and service kiosks at which co-op members can make payments. It also will have a meeting room; the headquarters built for co-op use in 1991 doesn’t, and large meetings must be held off-site.The electric cooperative’s 2010 acquisition of part of Allegheny Power’s Virginia territory made the need for new offices inevitable, he said. The co-op more than doubled in size, extra staff had to be hired to take care of new members, and expansion at the current site wasn’t an option because land wasn’t available.”We’ve got people in closets, we doubled-up offices, and we modified the meeting rooms we had for cubicles,” Hastings said. “We’ve exceeded our capacity here at the headquarters office.”Right-Sized GarageHastings declined to divulge the total amount SVEC is expected to spend on the construction of and move to the new headquarters because bidding on some aspects of the project is ongoing.Part of the cost, however, will be offset by the sale of its current headquarters to Blue Ridge Christian School for $3.4 million. The Dayton office to be closed, which has several buildings on 8.1 acres, is on the market for $1.75 million.Because of the traffic SVEC‘s move will bring to the area, Hastings said it will pay to have a right-turn lane installed off southbound South Valley Pike onto Oakwood and a stoplight installed at the South Valley Pike-Cecil Wampler Road intersection.The move to a new facility is being made now to take advantage of historically low interest rates and a somewhat sluggish construction market, said Hastings. SVEC‘s board of directors spent two years weighing options before unanimously deciding a new office was best, and they are in financial position to take on the debt.The building is being constructed with space for new staff members and can accommodate an expansion, Hastings said, though no major growth is anticipated. It also will allow greater privacy for members to meet with co-op staff and improve member services.The new garage will house trucks too large to fit inside existing buildings in Dayton.Said Hastings: “We’ll be able to take better care of the equipment we have.”Contact Vic Bradshaw at 574-6279 or vbradshaw@dnronline.com
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