Co-op moving into new offices
After years of planning and months of construction, the Washington Electric Cooperative's new facility is finally complete and employees are in the process of moving in.
The company's general manager and CEO, Ken Schilling, called it a dream come true.
"The planning and investigating started about 14 years ago in 1998," he said. "We were operating out of three facilities. What this allowed us to do is put all 24 employees and all equipment and offices under one roof at one location."
The company's new home is a 30,100-square-foot building located at 440 Highland Ridge Road in Muskingum Township. About 10,000 square feet is office space, while 20,000 square feet is devoted to warehouse and storage space. It officially opens at 7:30 a.m. Monday and an open house will be held March 30.
The new facility is about 7,500 more square feet than what the company had before between its office at 406 Colegate Drive, its operations center on Ohio 821 near Highland Ridge Road and its rented storage space in the Broughton complex on Ohio 821.
The company has sold its buildings at 406 Colegate Drive and on Ohio 821 to Ohio Oil Gathering Corporation for $875,000.
"We're going to build a truck terminal (on Ohio 821) for crude oil," said Bob Gerst, state manager for Appalachian Oil Purchasers, the affiliate company of Ohio Oil Gathering. "We've got a pipeline that runs across the back of that property we pump crude oil through, so we're going to tie on to that line and pump it to the river."
Gerst said the company, which is affiliated with West Virginia Oil Gathering, hauls crude oil from well sites to its stations along the pipelines and the oil is then loaded onto barges for refineries.
He said the company is preparing for the oil and gas boom that is expected to occur in the area due to fracking, or horizontal drilling.

Fact Box

Washington Electric Cooperative
The company's new facility at 440 Highland Ridge Road in Muskingum Township is completed and employees are in the process of moving in.
The company previously operated out of facilities at 406 Colegate Drive and on Ohio 821 near Highland Ridge Road, as well as in the Broughton complex on Ohio 821.
The cost of the project was $3 million, with Reno-based Mark Mondo Building and Excavating serving as the general contractor.
The new office will open at 7:30 a.m. Monday. Customers who need assistance before then can call 373-2141.
"If it gets as big as they say it's going to get, we have to be ready to haul it," Gerst said.
He said there are not currently any plans for the Colegate Drive building.
Washington Electric's new facility had a total project cost of $3 million, with Reno-based Mark Mondo Building and Excavating serving as the general contractor.
The entire facility is economically and environmentally friendly, from the recycled catch basins outside to the low volatile organic compounds glue used underneath the carpet inside.
All of the "green" aspects of the building put together make it LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified.
It was the first LEED project for Mark Mondo Building and Excavating, according to Jim Stavrakis, senior project engineer and LEED AP (accredited professional).
He said officials with his company, Washington Electric Cooperative and others toured several other electric co-op facilities to get ideas for the new building.
"We were able to see what things went well and what looking back they wish they had done," Stavrakis said.
A geothermal heating and cooling system, high efficiency windows, waterless urinals and low flow toilets are just a few of the facility's green amenities.
Many things within it are locally made, including the windows, which are from Wincore Windows Doors in Parkersburg. They can be opened from the top so outside air can get into the building but there is not a security concern.
"At the certified level, it was all the things we truly wanted in the building and the things that made sense economically to do," Stavrakis said. "There are going to be a lot of savings over the years from this."
Schilling added that there are also solar panels on the roof of the building, the amount and size of which would be appropriate for a typical homeowner.
Stavrakis said there will be a flat screen television set up in the lobby of the facility on which folks will be able to see how much power is being generated from the system.
That is just one aspect of the new facility that will benefit customers, according to Schilling.
"In the new facility, we'll have double the amount of phone lines, so that is especially critical in times of outages that we're able to better cope with situations when we have hundreds of customers that might be out of power," he said.
Schilling added that there will be a night deposit drop box at the new facility and the drop box that is currently at 406 Colegate Drive will be moved to the Warren's IGA parking lot off Muskingum Drive.
In total, the cooperative serves 10,500 meters in six counties, including Washington, Noble, Monroe, Morgan, Athens and Guernsey.
"We feel a little bit more to the center of our six-county territory we serve and it'll be more convenient for Noble County customers. We'll be 15 to 20 miles down the interstate for their convenience," Schilling said.
PO BOX 250
RENO, OHIO 45773
PH: 740-376-9396
FAX: 740-376-9960