UniSource’s gas operations team in Verde Valley is preparing to move to a new facility that will support safer, more efficient service for customers.

Construction is underway on the new Verde Valley Operations Center at a site just east of the Verde Valley Fairgrounds in Cottonwood. Located less than two miles away from the current operations center, it will include a new administration building, warehouse, storage building and expanded space for vehicle parking. Construction crews finished pouring perimeter footings for the new buildings last month and are now working on building block walls and installing wood trusses.

“We’ll have a robust new welding shop with more safety features than our current location. That’s a huge plus for us,” said Duncan Jakes, Verde Valley District Manager. “And we’ll gain additional space for vehicle parking and for storing construction materials.”

UniSource will invest about $8.1 million in the new operations center, including the cost of land and construction. With the company’s long-term lease at its current location expiring this year, the timing was right to build a new facility. The new building is specifically designed to suit the future needs of employees who serve about 21,000 customers in a growing service area of about 750 square miles throughout the Verde Valley.

Cottonwood remains the best location for supporting service in the towns and communities of Verde Valley, including Clarkdale and Jerome to the west and Sedona and Camp Verde to the east.

The new building’s total square footage will be comparable to the current operations center: about 13,000 square feet. However, the space will be better utilized to house the office’s 18 employees. Moving to the new 6-acre site from the current 2-acre site also will allow for expansion in the future.

“Our construction and service crews, and technical services employees will have a new, more functional facility,” Jakes said.

Jakes expects construction to finish sometime in November, and employees could move into the space by Thanksgiving.

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