William Prather, Vice President of Customer Service and Owen’s project leader, summed it up like this, “We have the building we wanted. I can’t think of any higher compliment.”
In developing the design of the $8 million facility, management and staff were led through an intensive needs analysis and programming process that enabled the Board to decide whether to expand the existing facility or build a new consolidated headquarters office and service facility. During the program phase, we were able to identify key issues to improve the customer experience, provide better control of the public in the facilities, and significantly improve interdepartmental workflow and communication.
A special training area was designed to incorporate pole and line installations for the different ecological conditions likely to be encountered by construction crews. Special features included a community room available for use by school and community groups, a museum with interactive multi-media exhibits highlighting the cooperative’s past,
present, and future, plus walking trails on the site. A storm-hardened Service Call and Dispatch Area provides a secure hightech emergency response center to enable quick responses to outages.
The new 60,000 sf headquarters is highly energy conscious, constructed with features such as geothermal heating and cooling. It incorporated “daylight harvesting” in major office areas and corridors to reduce the use of artificial lighting.
To reflect Owen’s concern for the environment, the facility was built using non-VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds) materials. The 47-acre site was designed to preserve wildlife habitats and native plants and employs a very efficient on-site sewage treatment system. Prather feels that CDS was particularly effective at incorporating environmental sensitivity and energy efficiency into the overall plan, stating that “these values are really at the core of our business.”