Building expansion positions Buckeye Power, OREC for growth

Site preparation began in late July on a 9,600-square-foot expansion project.

Site preparation began in late July on a 9,600-square-foot expansion project.

The site has been prepared, a temporary fence surrounds the area and it won’t be much longer until crews of workers arrive to begin construction on the newest section of the statewide headquarters facility.

Among the highlights of the addition for the Buckeye Power and Ohio Rural Electric Cooperatives headquarters are 10 office spaces.

Initially, staff from Buckeye Power’s Power Generation division will occupy four offices with a fifth used as a copy and file room. The other five will be designated for future growth.

A new training center will be able to accommodate larger groups than the existing training room. It also will be constructed in a way to accommodate two separate meetings at the same time, alleviating many scheduling conflicts.

A gathering area outside the training room will give meeting attendees a place to network and offer plenty of electrical outlets for charging mobile devices.

An executive conference room will be included in the addition allowing the current one to be converted back to an office.

With the growing interest in a more healthful lifestyle, the demand for the current wellness center has exceeded its capabilities and a larger workout room, along with restroom and shower facilities, will be part of the new project. Along with the additional office space in the new facility, four offices can be created from the current wellness room and three from converting part of the training room.

“We’ve been getting tighter and tighter on office space in the past couple of years and this project positions us well for our future,” Senior Vice President and COO Pat O’Loughlin said. “We’ve also been running into more instances where we’ve had to limit registration for training sessions because the current facility was unable to handle the number of people who wanted to attend.”

In getting ready for the new facility, different LED lights will be tested in the existing building. These tests will help determine how the lighting system in the new training room will be set up.

Also in preparation for the new addition, the building’s phone system will be modernized. The current phone network was installed in 1997, is near capacity and hardware is no longer available.

An emergency generator will also be part of the project. At 125 kW, it will be able to power the new facility along with a portion of the existing building.

The original statewide headquarters was built in 1976 with the wing that currently houses Government Affairs and Safety and Loss Control added in the early 1980s.

The two-story addition was built in 1991.

Whether it takes another 23 years to outgrow the new space remains to be seen, but if the time comes that more offices are needed, this current project can be easily added to.

“It’s being built in such a way that a second story can be added without shutting down operations on the first floor,” said Buckeye Power’s Herb Caldwell, who is overseeing the project. “Depending on the need, the second floor could be built to accommodate 24 to 32 additional offices.”

Construction is scheduled to run through the end of January.