United breaks ground on building expansion


United Cooperative Services recently had a ceremonial ground breaking for expansion at its Hood County Office located on Fall Creek Highway.

The expanded building, to be LEED-certified (Leadership in Energy Efficient Design), will have an education area to help members and the general public understand how to manage their energy use better – thus helping them control their bills.

“The expanded Hood County office will be a resource for the community, the membership and the public in many interest areas and will make everyone’s experience more pleasant and convenient,” said United CEO Ray Beavers.

Some of the new features of the expanded building include:

A community room available for use by members and general public upon request and who meet requirements.

A drive-thru to allow members quick and easy access to conduct business at the cooperative.

A new charging station for electric automobiles.

-+With the population and commercial and industrial business growth in the central and eastern parts of United’s service territory comes the obligation to ensure that reliable service remains constant to meet the needs of the growing membership, Beavers noted.

“The construction process of this project, to be managed by Yates Construction, will give priority to local contractors and manufacturers where practical and cost effective for our membership,” said Beavers.

Tours at the new office will inform the public about energy conservation, efficiency,demand response and distributed generation.

United will not raise rates to pay for this building expansion, said Beavers. “The cooperative’s long-standing conservative fiscal approach allows it to finance this building expansion with existing funds, not future funds derived from rates.”

The timing of the building expansion—expected to be completed by January 2015—also allows the cooperative to minimize costs.

United will utilize the existing Hood County structure and re-use internal elements, when possible, in the expansion. This not only offsets new add-on construction expense, but ensures the older, original structure is compliant with present building codes, officials said.