It took several years, overcoming a few unexpected challenges and changing location, but last Thursday dignitaries from Dairyland Power, the Town of Harmony and construction contractors celebrated the opening of the Dairyland Service Center in Harmony.
The 23,000 square foot facility is located on 10 acres of land on the northwest edge of Harmony. The majority of the building is dedicated to the storage of vehicles, materials and equipment while the remaining space is used for offices and meeting spaces. Although the number of employees working from the location may vary depending on the project, it is estimated that 10-12 employees will be based at the Harmony facility, including linemen and telecom operators.
Those present at the ribbon-cutting ceremony heard remarks from Harmony Mayor Steve Donney and Dairyland President and CEO Brent Ridge and were treated to a glimpse inside the facility.
“The facility will support the safe and reliable delivery of electricity by serving as a regional base of operations for members of the region’s line and power maintenance team, as well as a telecommunications presence” , Ridge explained. “Dairyland is grateful for the support of the Town of Harmony, MiEnergy Cooperative and the local business community for the success of this project.
Ridge joined Dairyland as president and CEO about two years ago, entering the project when it was well underway. He pointed out that the project had its challenges with underground conditions which caused Dairyland to seek alternative sites and certain budgetary challenges which also needed to be resolved. However, through it all, there were some great people working to make the project happen.
He recognized the architects of River Valley Architects who designed the building; Knutson Construction who constructed the building; governance of Dairyland Power; MiEnergy executives; the Dairyland staff and team who will be stationed there; and the City of Harmony and its EDA.
“A building like this helps us execute our mission safely,” Ridge added. “It also represents our commitment to the Cité de l’Harmonie. We are going to be here for decades and decades to come. This facility allows us to grow and we are grateful for our partnership with Harmony. This shows our absolute commitment to the community.
Ridge views Dairyland as a strong community partner, with staff involved and supporting the community, schools and businesses.
Mayor Steve Donney also addressed those gathered, welcoming Dairyland’s leadership, staff and community members to the grand opening. He said the city and EDA are committed to hosting the Dairyland project and making it work for Harmony and the power company. He thanked EDA Director Chris Giesen for his perseverance and Dairyland’s project managers and construction supervisors for being open to new possibilities while meeting the challenges they faced. He also thanked Bill and Roxanne Johnson for selling land from their farm to create a location for the new facility.
“Through this project, Harmony was also able to improve our infrastructure,” Donney added. “We are very happy that Dairyland is staying in town, allowing employees to live and work here.”
Regional entrepreneurs were also recognized during the program as well as during the ribbon cutting following the presentations. These included Knutson Construction, Morem Electric, Canton Heating & Cooling, Haugerud Painting, Kingsley Mercantile, Newline Mechanical, Winona Heating & Ventilating and River Valley Architects.
Dairyland has also planted three acres of pollinator habitat around the Harmony Service Center site with a Pollinator Palooza seed mix. Once established, the 47 short grass species will support populations of bees, butterflies and pollinating insects.