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VEA to host open house Sept. 9

Valley Electric Association is set to show off its newest additions to its campus on Highway 372 and the cooperative is inviting the public to join them and check out the new digs.

On Friday, Sept. 9, VEA will host an open house from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m., at the facility located at the co-op’s headquarters at 800 E. Highway 372, to showcase the Valley Conference Center and its Innovations Center.

Attendees will be able to see the finished products of a multi-phase transformation that began in April 2014.

VEA CEO Tom Husted explained the conference center is a necessity for association operations and will serve the community, providing vital space for civic gatherings.

“Of the communities we serve, Pahrump is by far the largest and the only one that did not have an adequate community center,” Husted said. “Fish Lake Valley, Amargosa Valley, Beatty and Sandy Valley … they all have nice facilities. Pahrump needs something like this.”

The center was the final phase in the transformation of VEA’s headquarters, and it’s main goal will be to conduct internal co-op meetings and safety trainings.

“The Valley Conference Center will address VEA’s needs by providing a place where we can gather all our employees,” Husted said. “Safety is critical to our business and we need to have a place to conduct the monthly safety meetings for our entire staff, as well as all the other employee meetings we have.”

The 6,600-square-foot Valley Conference Center, which sits in the redone former operations center site built in the 1980s, features an assembly room with the capacity to accommodate 400 people standing, 300 seated or 150 at tables.

The facility also includes a large meeting room, a kitchen, storage space, restrooms and an audio-visual control room.

The crown jewel of the recent additions to VEA’s headquarters is the new 33,120-square-foot Innovations Center, which opened in 2015. The building houses operations, dispatch and engineering, and also included renovations to the lobby of the administration building and additional parking spaces.

The Innovations Center also will be open for tours during the open house.

VEA Manager of Support Services Butch Caple, said use of the original structure was essential in maintaining the project’s budget.

“We worked with the original frame of the building as much as we possibly could,” he said. “We’ve added a couple of kick-outs, but really the original structure was maintained.”

The group behind the transformation project included Par Development, Inc., Martin-Harris Construction and Pugsley, Simpson, Coulter, Architects. Caple said local subcontractors were used whenever possible.

“We’re lucky,” he said. “We have an abundance of highly-skilled contractors in the valley.”

Caple is excited about the center’s potential and features, noting the full commercial kitchen, perfect for lunch meetings, the enhanced audio visual and concert-quality sound package that he described as “top rate.” Even the bathrooms that feature efficient, innovative faucets that wash and then dry hands.

The facility will also house the cooperative’s Ambassador Program, made up of members who are educated on day-to-day association operations, which provide feedback and serve as the face of the organization.

Ambassadors had a hand in the center’s planning, selecting the yellow accent color used throughout the building.

“We value the ambassadors’ input, so that’s one of the things they chose was the color,” Caple said.

Contact reporter Mick Akers at makers@pvtimes.com. Follow @mickakers on Twitter.

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