Bigger and better
MidAmerican’s new facility in FD expected to benefit region
The construction site of the new MidAmerican Energy Fort Dodge Service Center at 4000 First Ave. N. is a beehive of activity.
One crew, clad in hard hats, reflective vests and harnesses for working at heights, are building concrete forms for what will later become a stairwell.
Another crew is busy putting up a scaffolding so they can build a concrete block wall. They will later create a temporary enclosure so they can work in the cold and avoid damage to the concrete.
Large pieces of structural steel sit on protective pieces of lumber awaiting installation. Trucks arrive almost daily, bringing even more pieces of the final building.
A large crane towers over the site. It spends little time idle. There’s almost always a piece of steel to set in place, a truck to unload or a piece of other material that needs lifting.
When work is completed on the project, MidAmerican Energy will have a single location in Fort Dodge with ample room for all of its operations.
It will combine customer service and service operations into one 72,000-square-foot complex on 20 acres of land. An 8-foot-tall fence will surround the property.
Kathryn Kunert, MidAmerican’s vice president for economic connections and integration, said the facility is an investment in Fort Dodge.
“Obviously that’s something we’re very proud of,” she said. “It shows the commitment to the community, to the region, to our customers and to our employees. We’ve been here for decades and we’re going to continue to be here for decades to bring you our reliable service.”
Almost 60,000 customers are served out of Fort Dodge. That includes direct support for Hamilton, Pocahontas and Humboldt counties. It also includes indirect support for Palo Alto, Kossuth and Wright counties, Kunert said.
Jim Dougherty, vice president of electronic delivery, said the new facility will benefit both customers and employees. There are currently 66 employees split between the current service center and customer service office.
“All those folks will reside in a new building,” Dougherty said. “We’re more than doubling the square footage, so we’re preparing for future growth in the area.”
Fort Dodge Mayor Matt Bemrich said the facility will be a boon.
“The 60,000 people that they serve are an important part of not just Fort Dodge, but the greater region,” he said.
He likes the way MidAmerican servers as a partner and leader in economic development.
“They put their money where their mouth is,” he said. “They put their resources, their time, their talents, to help be that partner that helps you get over the hump. Helps you find the solution to the problem.”
Fort Dodge city officials have said that the Decker Industrial Park, also called the Crosstown Connector Industrial Park, where MidAmerican is building the new center, could potentially be the site of 800 jobs and $63 million in new tax value.
The MidAmerican facility is the first project to be built there. Several other lots in the development have been sold as well.
The park was completed in December of 2016. Work included new roads and the needed utility infrastructure.
The MidAmerican Energy Fort Dodge Service Center is expected to open in September.