WENATCHEE – One by one, but together in spirit, Chelan PUD commissioners dug the first shovelfuls of earth at Olds Station, future home of the PUD’s comprehensive Service Center. Their audience: A video camera to ensure that the important milestone was captured. Join us online to witness and celebrate the historic event on Facebook Aug. 5.
“Today’s groundbreaking sets us on a path forward to greater efficiency and customer service,” Board President Garry Arseneault said, “so future generations of Chelan County residents will continue reaping the benefits of low-cost hydropower.”
After years of careful study, the Board of Commissioners determined that a centralized facility would provide the best value and experience for the most people over the next 50 to 100 years. The 19-acre campus will combine most of the PUD’s non-hydro services, including Customer Service, Warehouse, Fish and Wildlife, and Customer Energy Solutions.
“As the PUD studied its options, it became clear that a consolidated Service Center was the least-cost option,” Arseneault said. “Our vision is for the next 50 years. We make these decisions based on the benefits to customer-owners for the long term.”
The Olds Station site is the geographic center of Chelan County, which will help reduce response times and operational costs. The centralized location also creates one convenient stop where customer-owners can pay bills, apply for new services and meet with staff and commissioners.
Construction is slated through 2022, with a gradual move-in planned for late 2022 or early 2023. About 78% of the first-phase work was awarded to local contractors. Sales tax payments associated with the nearly $140 million project will also provide a local economic boost.
Project plans also include a trail connection to the Apple Capital Loop Trail and improved public access to the Wenatchee River.
The new Service Center will replace several aging PUD facilities, including its Fifth Street headquarters built in 1955. The PUD is working with the City, Regional Port Authority, Wenatchee Valley Chamber, Wenatchee Downtown Association and a citizen advisory committee to explore future development of the 7.5-acre downtown campus.