An estimated 500 people from the greater Stettler community packed the ATCO Electric site last Tuesday to share in the grand opening of ATCO’s new Stettler operations centre.
Stettler Mayor Dick Richards and Reeve Wayne Nixon lauded ATCO for its contribution to the community as “good and generous corporate citizens” and acknowledged ATCO employees’ involvement as “coaches, board members and volunteers in the community.”
“It is a privilege to have ATCO set up in the Stettler community,” Nixon said.
“It is an exciting day for ATCO,” said ATCO Electric distribution president Bobbi Lambright. “It’s terrific to be a part of your community and engaged in your growth.
“Investment in this new and expanded service centre demonstrates ATCO’s long-term commitment to Stettler, our customers and the environment.”
Lambright said ATCO saw a demand in the Stettler area, partially due to general growth in the Alberta economy and because a lot of the system in the region needs to be upgraded or replaced.
Weather was ideal as guests toured the new facility, listened to grand-opening speeches and enjoyed a barbecue lunch under sunny and bright-blue skies.
The architectural “showpiece,” an energy-efficient facility located in Stettler’s east industrial area, was built slightly under budget, at about $26 million.
The 68,000-square-foot facility, on an 11-acre site, was designed to reduce energy consumption by about 55 per cent and water consumption by 30 per cent, compared to commercial buildings of similar size and use, Lambright said.
The structure has unique energy-efficiency features to reduce the impact on the physical environment.
The “green roof,” covered in soil and growing plants, is an environmental feature that provides superior insulation to decrease heating costs.
Rainwater will be captured and re-used in wash bays.
Steady growth in the past few years had the ATCO employees operating out of three buildings in Stettler. Lambright said that created a loss of synergy.
The new facility consolidates 63 employees under one roof to create operational efficiency.
Ten employees have been added in the expanded service areas of the surveying, fleet mechanics and land agent departments.
Constructed with possible future expansion in mind, the new building has the capacity to house up to 80 employees.
The new service centre serves as both a district and regional office and serves a large area from west of Stettler to the Saskatchewan border, north to Forestburg and south to Big Valley.
The Stettler facility is one of only two in the province capable of servicing the company’s two 100-foot-long mobile substations. The other is at Grande Prairie.
The outpouring of support from the community impressed ATCO district manager Allan Gano, whose office is in the Stettler facility.
“I am so happy with the great turnout and the weather,” Gano said.
“I am glad we were able to do this for the community and pleased so many people got to see this wonderful facility.”