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Ravalli Electric Cooperative to build new headquarters

 

The Ravalli Electric Co-op, located in Corvallis, is feeling growing pains and, hemmed in as its headquarters is by surrounding school property, there was not much choice but to look elsewhere for room to expand and modernize their operation, according to company officials.

“Since 1980 our membership has doubled and continues to grow. We see this trend continuing over the years,” said REC Manager Mark Grotbo. The co-op had 4,000 members in 1980 and has grown to 10,600 members today.

“Our current space is inadequate to meet the future needs of our membership, and our options for expansion here are limited being surrounded on three sides by the Corvallis School District,” said Grotbo. “REC presently leases property to the Corvallis School District for their playground and softball field. If we were to stay, the school would lose these areas and our pole yard would be approximately 42 feet from their existing building.”

The decision to relocate was announced at REC’s annual meeting on March 18. The company’s management and its board of directors reviewed several options to solve its many facility challenges which include an overflowing warehouse and main office, daily traffic congestion from the surrounding school and growing Corvallis community, and lack of space to expand and grow at the current location. After researching over 30 properties to meet certain criteria and needs of the co-op, REC’s board of directors purchased a 52-acre parcel on the corner of Hwy 93 and Bell Crossing to become the future headquarters of Ravalli Electric Cooperative.

“The decision to relocate and build a new headquarters is one of the most impactful decisions made since the formation of the Cooperative,” said Grotbo. “It is an important step toward planning for the long-term growth and financial health of the electric cooperative. Our present location has served us well for over 80 years, but now is the time to plan for the next 80 years.”

REC’s management and board believe the new future facility location will not only be enough space for the co-op to thrive and grow, but is also a prime business location with better access to service its membership throughout the Bitterroot Valley. REC is in the very initial stages of planning for the new headquarters and a lot is still unknown at this time.

“As we move forward with the planning and constructing of our new facility, we will keep our members informed of the co-op status through our website, our monthly publication of Rural Montana Magazine, social media, and other venues,” Grotbo said. “At this point in time we simply have a piece of property. We are exploring what will meet our needs, while just as important being mindful of cost and affordability. My hope is that in the next 3-5 years Bell Crossing and Hwy 93 will be REC’s new home.”

Company spokesperson Melissa Greenwood declined to reveal the purchase price of the property. Greenwood can be contacted at 961-3001 or by email at mgreenwood@ravallielectric.com.

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