New Operations Facility Finalized

View of the operations facility.
The new operations facility will allow Wells Rural Electric Co. to serve its growing membership. Photos by Layla Walz

Wells Rural Electric Co.’s new operations facility was completed on time and within budget late this summer. WREC’s Board and workforce are thrilled with how it turned out and can’t wait to start using it to continue providing safe, reliable, affordable electricity to members for decades to come.

WREC is currently dispatching linemen from home due to COVID-19, and a few minor details are still to be finished, but a phased move-in at the new facility is planned for August.

“We’re so excited to have this dream become a reality,” WREC CEO Clay Fitch says. “While the building certainly fills an immediate need, it’s really an investment in the next 50 years that will allow WREC to continue providing the best service possible to members.”

Office with desks and chairs.
WREC’s central dispatch will benefit from modern equipment.

The Board made the decision to build the new facility based on the cooperative’s growth over the last several decades. The old facilities served their purpose well, but are outdated. They no longer provided adequate space to house the size and volume of modern equipment, which was beginning to affect WREC’s ability to dispatch crews quickly and efficiently. The new building will allow for a central dispatch and house WREC’s bucket trucks and larger equipment, with room to grow in the future.

Employees and directors toured the building throughout the last month, and it is just about ready for occupancy.

COVID-19 presented several challenges, both in terms of the new building and day-to-day operations. Protecting the health and safety of members and employees was the top priority. Fortunately, the company was able to enact plans and procedures to ensure the project was completed without compromising anyone’s health.

Warehouse in a facility.
WREC will house its larger equipment in the new facility, which will help the co-op dispatch quickly and efficiently.

“I’m proud to announce the project was completed on time and on budget, despite COVID-19,” Fitch says. “We spent a lot of time and effort working with our general contractor and subcontractors to make sure we were providing a safe work environment. It was worth it to facilitate the completion of the project in a way that was safe and healthy for workers.”

While the previously planned public grand opening for the building is no longer possible, plans are being developed for a virtual grand opening to show WREC’s members how the new facility will benefit them.