General Manager Chuck Pinson, second from left, shakes hands after cutting the ribbon on the new Central Valley Electric Cooperative headquarters in Artesia Wednesday. (Jill McLaughlin Photo)
Central Valley Electric Cooperative opened a new, state-of-the-art $7.5 million building in Artesia Wednesday.
“We’re really excited to open this facility and to show people what we’ve done,” said General Manager Chuck Pinson.
CVEC started work on the Artesia facility in November and moved in Sept. 11.
“The biggest thing is the space for us to be able to house our employees,” Pinson said.
An enthusiastic crowd of contractors, employees and community leaders waited outside as an official ribbon-cutting ceremony unfolded and the doors opened. Attendees walked through the halls, across the new floors and examined the fixtures before heading to a lunch of barbecued ribs and potato salad.
The office building, at 1403 N. 13th St., is about 33,500 square feet and was budgeted to cost $8.3 million. It was specifically designed to be energy efficient and built using geo-thermal heating and cooling systems and LED lighting.
The geothermal system will convert ground temperatures to heat the building in the winter and cool it in the summer. The co-op pursued an $87,000 federal grant to pay for the system, which is expected to last more than 75 years.
The LED lighting cost $55,000 but lasts 50,000 hours, or more than 20 years.
CVEC also increased its security system for its employees. The company will keep its old building. The new facility will house its administration, operations and engineering staff.
Construction was completed ahead of schedule and under budget.
“Hopefully, we’re setting the standard for our members and county with how they can save money,” Pinson said.
CVEC plans to pay for the building using general funds. Member fees are not expected to be affected.
The cooperative opened in 1937. Last year, the co-op reported it had 3,833 members in Eddy, Chaves and parts of Otero and Lea counties. The company also serves 14,330 meters, has 80 employees and 29 substations.
Power suppliers to the co-op are Southwestern Public Service Co. and Western Farmers Electric Cooperative.
In 2012, the co-op reported operating revenues of more than $54 million.