Nodak Electric Cooperative took its support of the Grand Forks Air Force Base (GFAFB) to the next level in 2021 with the addition of a unique service center. The 4,500-square-foot facility is government funded as a part of a utilities privatization (UP) agreement between the co-op and GFAFB. The agreement, signed in 2018, made Nodak the owner and operator of the electric infrastructure on the base. The new on-site service center will allow crews to serve the base and its residents more quickly, safely and thoroughly.
Nodak will use the new facility in several ways. A classroom inside the building will help train Nodak line and base personnel on the electrical systems of the GFAFB, both overhead and underground. There is also office space for crew members who need work stations during a job on the base. A large portion of the square footage is warehouse storage space for utility vehicles and materials used to maintain the electrical distribution system.
“The fact that we will have equipment and material at our on-base warehouse means it will take less time to restore power to base residents,” said Dan Schaefer, Nodak line superintendent. “Otherwise, we would have to run to Grand Forks for material. Any time we can restore service in a timely manner, it makes Nodak and GFAFB stronger partners.”
The construction of the service center happened right in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, and it ultimately took 14 months from start to finish. Meetings have already taken place at the facility, and crews continue to add office furniture and shelving to make the space more functional.
“Having a facility of this quality makes our jobs of maintaining the electrical system on the GFAFB easier,” Schaefer said.