Cranes and crews will raise the steel frame of Chelan PUD’s new Service Center this spring. The highly visible project is emblematic of major investments the utility is making to ensure long-term value, including hydropower modernization, fiber internet expansion and hardening the electrical grid for wildfire resiliency.
On Monday, Chelan PUD commissioners unanimously approved three resolutions authorizing the next phase of construction for the Service Center. With more than three-fourths of contracts awarded, the project is on track to stay within budget, $139.5 million. (Starts at 02:01:40 on the board audio recording).
“This is an important moment in the district’s history,” Commissioner Randy Smith said after the Jan. 19 presentation to the board.
The PUD plans to award about $26.7 million in construction bids to local contractors and suppliers – including electrical, asphalt paving, landscaping and concrete supply. The Service Center project will also provide about $2.5 million in fees and taxes to the City of Wenatchee, Chelan County, and other junior taxing districts.
Staff also gave a progress report on the first construction phase – excavation and site work – which is on time and on budget. Since August, crews have been busy laying the underground utility and electrical work, and preparing the grounds for concrete foundations on the 19-acre campus. The grand opening is tentatively scheduled for early 2023.
The Service Center as an important investment for several reasons:
- Building new is more cost-effective than remodeling the PUD’s scattered, aging facilities
- A consolidated service center provides one-stop convenience for customer-owners
- The location is closer to the center of the PUD’s service territory
- Easier access means faster response times from utility crews
Service Center aside, most of Chelan PUD’s capital budget this year will be dedicated to other initiatives outlined in the 2020-2024 strategic plan, including:
- Expansion of fiber internet
- Modernization of aging hydropower turbines
- Hardening the electrical grid for wildfire resiliency
- Construction of several substations to meet local demand
In other news, commissioners:
- Heard a progress report on growth in Chelan County and substations in development. (00:07:45)
- Heard a report on the upcoming relicensing of Rock Island Hydro Project (00:39:37)
- Reviewed the status of several bills under legislative consideration (00:20:00)
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The PUD commission will hold a special meeting Feb. 2, most of which in executive session, to evaluate the performance of a public employee. The next regular PUD commission meeting is at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 16. The public is welcome to attend remotely in accordance with the latest guidance from the state Department of Health.
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