New Tri-County building on drawing board

A local electric cooperative has a new building on the drawing board.

Fact Finder has learned that Tri-County Electric, based in Lancaster, is planning to construct a $3.2 million facility to replace the four older buildings the cooperative is currently using.

This week, Assistant Manager Kevin Wheeler showed us structural problems, termite damage, water leaks and mold in Tri-County's office building on the north side of the square in Lancaster.

General Manager Dave Ramsey said that it TMs his duty and the duty of the Board of Directors to provide the cooperative TMs employees with a safe, healthy environment in which to work.

Ramsey said the current location does not meet that requirement.

He says an outside firm determined it would cost nearly $1.1 million to bring the current facilities up to code.

He said it doesn TMt make good fiscal sense to spend that kind of money on such old structures.

Wheeler told Fact Finder electric rates will be going up to help pay for the new building, but it's too soon to say by how much.

"The cost of what it will be to members, it's premature (to say) because of interest rates and contract bids and things like that," said Wheeler.

Wheeler does say they TMve learned from architects and engineers that a lot of the bids are coming in lower than expected.

Wheeler also told us the decision to go forward with a new building was made by the Board of Directors on October 15 of this year. That news was released to the Schuyler County newspaper just a few days later.

He says anyone is welcome to stop in and see all the related paperwork.

"We have a binder here with all the reports the board members have had access to. We urge the members to come in and look at the information, and we'll be happy to sit down and discuss any information that they'd like to have discussed with them," said Wheeler.

Tri-County Electric is considering four different sites between Queen City and Lancaster as potential locations for its new facility.

They're looking for around 15 acres of land suitable for construction.

Architects and engineers toured the various sites Monday. They will get back to the Board with their recommendations.

Wheeler said the new facility will be a large metal building with offices up front and garages in the back.

He said having one facility rather than four will help improve the efficiency of Tri-County Electric TMs operation.

The Board hopes crews will begin building in the spring and have the new facility ready to move into by the end of next year.