In 1945, Kootenai Electric Cooperative (KEC) purchased its first headquarters facility located in downtown Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. At that time, the cooperative served just under 1,000 members. By 1979, the cooperative had grown to 8,100 members and had outgrown that facility. Later that year, KEC purchased 10 acres of property in Hayden, Idaho, and constructed a new headquarters on it. That headquarters has been our home for the past 42 years. In that time, it has been expanded several times to include the purchase of five additional acres on the south side of Dakota Avenue. Today, your cooperative serves nearly 30,000 members from this headquarters. Approximately 100 employees and between 25 to 50 contractors, depending on the time of year, work from it. Crucially, we have run out of room and few options for growth remain at this site.
Beginning the Process
In 2020, KEC hired a consultant to conduct a facility master plan. This plan assessed our current and future needs in terms of land and building space. It also evaluated a number of alternatives available to the cooperative. From this effort, it was clear that the most viable alternative was to purchase 40 to 45 acres of land for the construction of a new headquarters and to sell our current facility. All other alternatives failed to effectively meet the cooperative’s needs and cost more in the long run.
KEC then began looking for suitable land on which to construct a new headquarters. After evaluating several potential properties, KEC selected a 45-acre site in Rathdrum just a few miles from our current location. That site is located on the south side of Lancaster Road between Highway 41 and Greensferry Road (see map below).
KEC was also able to sell its current headquarters building to Kootenai County at market value. That sale closed in December of 2020. Shortly thereafter, we closed on the sale of the other property on the south side of Dakota Avenue, also at market value. Importantly, both sales included lease back provisions enabling the cooperative to continue operating from our current facility while a new one is designed and built. Equally important, their sale ensured that the cooperative is not left stranded with property it does not need after the new facility is built.
Where We are Now
The completion of these land purchases and sales allowed our focus to shift to the design of the new headquarters. To help with this, KEC engaged the services of Cooperative Building Solutions (CBS) under a design-build contract earlier this year. CBS provides facilities planning, architectural and engineering design, and construction management services exclusively to electric cooperatives that are renovating existing or constructing new facilities. To date, they have assisted more than 80 electric cooperatives in 27 states with their headquarters design and construction projects. This experience makes them uniquely qualified to help inform and lead such a crucial construction project as the building of our new headquarters, which will serve as our home for the next 40 years or more.
This investment in our future is not inexpensive. It represents an investment of between $42 to $46 million. To ensure our headquarters is not overbuilt, the initial construction is planned to accommodate about ten years of new growth. The facility is laid out such that growth beyond that can be accommodated by expanding administrative office space, warehousing, fleet parking and our materials laydown yard as future growth occurs.
If you have any questions, please contact us.