Today Wood County Electric Cooperative (WCEC) members, special guests, employees, and board members gathered to mark a special occasion at the cooperative with a ceremonial groundbreaking for a new administration building in Quitman.
The new building will be built on the cooperative’s existing property at 501 S. Main Street in Quitman, replacing the 40s, 50,s and 70s era buildings. Brandy Ziegler of Fitzpatrick Architects (FA) in Tyler, Texas, is the project architect. Of primary design concern was how the building should function for employees and members and the operating costs.
The new building will incorporate a much more apparent entrance and will add additional drive-through capabilities that will reduce associated traffic congestion on Hwy 37. The building will also have a more accessible meeting room. Importantly, the electrical capabilities will be compatible with newer technologies. Also, the building will feature improved employee and energy efficiencies.
Ziegler, an accredited Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) professional, employed architectural, mechanical, and electrical design concerns to work together to maximize energy efficiencies in the new building to ensure low operating costs for the lifetime of the building.
Part of those low operating costs will be driven through gains in energy efficiency. The building will maximize natural filtered light and the windows will incorporate insulated and high efficiency glass. The outer “skin” of the building will be insulated with high R-value insulation, and building overhangs will provide shading to reduce heat gain, as well as reflective roof material.
The mechanical and electrical features of the building will work together to minimize energy requirements. And all of these systems will be programmable to reduce use at non-occupied times. Efficient CFL and LED lighting will use photocells to time or sense light applications for both external and interior. Other energy efficiency features will extend to the actual landscaping design.
In addition to the functionality and efficiency, the building is designed uniquely for WCEC; and Ziegler and others at FA researched cooperative history for the look and feel, drawing inspiration from graphically bold posters published in the 1930’s by the Rural Electrification Administration (REA).
At the event Debbie Robinson, General Manager & CEO, acted as master of ceremonies and gave remarks about the evolution of the new building. Juan Nichols, Past General Manager (retired), discussed the historical significance of the cooperative; and Ziegler spoke about the design innovations.
Pat Lindley, WCEC Board President, officiated the groundbreaking and said, “Our number one goal is always to serve our members better and the new technology we will be able to employ in the new state-of-the-art building will bring many advantages. And, it will enable the employees to continue to give members the quality of service they have come to expect today.”
Wood County Electric Cooperative, Inc. is a not-for-profit electric cooperative with the mission of providing member-customers reliable electric service at a reasonable rate. WCEC serves over 33,000 meters in parts of nine counties throughout northeast Texas, including Camp, Franklin, Hopkins, Rains, Smith, Titus, Upshur, Van Zandt, and Wood.
Information at a Glance
Major Building Contractors/Subcontractors
- Construction Managers Jackson Construction, Quitman, TX
- Structural Engineering Holland Engineering, Lindale, TX
- Civil Engineering Brannon Corp, Tyler, TX
Groundbreaking Participants – WCEC Board of Directors
- Pat Lindley, President
- Dennis Wright, Vice President
- Lewis Young, Secretary/Treasurer
- Burke Bullock
- Brent Glenn
- Jane Roberson
- Cathy Roberts
- Coy Johnson, Attorney
- Debbie Robinson, General Manager & CEO
- Juan Nichols, Past General Manager (retired)
- Brandy Ziegler, Project Architect, Fitzpatrick Architects
- Tim Jackson, Construction Project Manager
Groundbreaking: May 21, 2012
Expected Building Completion: May 2013
Budget: $4.5 Million, which includes new automotive shop.