Loup Power District breaks ground on new site

August 29, 2018

Although portions of its foundation have been laid and site footings are in the process of being installed, Loup Power District on Tuesday held an official groundbreaking ceremony commemorating construction of its new operations service center.

More than a dozen attendees made the trip out to the center’s site, located on an approximately 15-acre plot of land just east of the north end of Columbus Municipal Airport’s runway. The completed center will be situated south of Lost Creek Parkway and east of Monastery Road.

With construction of the 12th Avenue Viaduct on the horizon and the knowledge that a portion of the structure was to cut through the power district’s current yard, discussion started taking place about relocating the facility, according to Loup Public Power President and CEO Neal Suess.

The current service center, 1350 12th Ave., is more than 80 years old and currently houses 30-35 members of Loup’s Canal crew, construction and water heating line teams.

“The yard is very, very efficient, but the building itself isn’t,” Suess said of the current service center. “And so when we learned that viaduct was going to go straight through our building – right through our yard – we said, ‘You know what, this is a pretty good time for us to maybe look at doing something new.’ We’d been talking about it for some time, and this was a piecemeal way for us to do the service center, get those guys to where they need to be. So we made this a priority.”

The service center will be located on what is currently a plat of dirt consolidated within the 105 acres of land owned by Loup Power, being referred to as the Energy Triangle.

Suess said that an area of Lincoln is referred to as Energy Square and that he and his cohorts wanted a catchy phrase for their plot of land, which will continue being developed down the road.

“We looked at the shape of it and it looks a little bit like a triangle,” Suess said of the entire plot of land. “So we said, ’hey, let’s go with Energy Triangle that will be perfect … So that’s where we came up with it and our Board really got on board with it.”

The project will be completed by B-D Construction and is slated to take place over the course of the next 15-18 months, Suess said. The goal of the project wasn’t simply to create a state-of-the art facility, but to also do it in a manner that benefits Columbus and nearby areas simultaneously.

Suess said project steel is being purchased through Behlen Manufacturing and concrete is being laid by Gerhold Concrete Company, illustrating how local industry is benefiting through the service center project.

Rich Aerni, chairman of the board for Loup Public Power, highlighted the amount of work it took to get to the point of actually breaking ground.

“Many hours of planning by management, employees, the board, consultants, B-D Construction and the City of Columbus went in to make this project come to fruition,” Aerni said. “I want to thank everyone for your hard work and dedication. Today, we kick this project off.”

Sam Pimper is the news editor of The Columbus Telegram. Reach him via email at sam.pimper@lee.net.

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