The Next 80 Years
MLEC is considered critical infrastructure and has the opportunity
to become more efficient, effective, and flexible by investing in a new
operations center in a new location. It is our goal to foster effective
communication between Mille Lacs Energy Cooperative and our
membership to promote mutual support and understanding.
"We Are In This Together" - May 2020
"Potential New Headquarters" - October 2020
"New Headquarters Update" & "It's All in the Numbers" - November 2020
Executive Summary by Widseth - December 2020
"Looking Ahead to 2021" - December 2020
"Headquarters Feasibility Study" - January 2021
"2020 - The Good News" - February 2021
"Feasibility Study Results" - March 2021
"Growing with our Communities" - April 2021
2021 Annual Meeting Recording - May 2021
"Weighing the Options" - June 2021
"Headquarters Project Update" - September 2021
"Driveway Construction" - October 2021
"Architect Chosen for Headquarters Project" - March 2022
"Headquarters Project Next Steps" - June 2022
Our needs have evolved since this facility was built. Serving our members now requires more equipment, bigger trucks, and broader offerings. We believe the time is right to make this move for our members, our employees, and the future of MLEC.Harold Harms, MLEC Board President
Frequently Asked Questions
- MLEC’s board and management have been discussing the need for a new operations center and headquarters for 10 years.
- MNDOT’s decision to redo Highway 169; a decision that will remove our two access entries and take 20 feet of property along 169.
- When faced with the decision of spending millions of dollars to renovate our current facility or build new, the MLEC board decided that the longevity of a new facility will serve MLEC best.
- Our goal is to competitively position MLEC to serve its members for the next 80 years.
- The MLEC Board of Directors evaluated all information and made the best decision for the future of MLEC and its members. The directors have been chosen by the membership, among the membership ranks, to make decisions on their behalf. The directors voted on behalf of the membership with the intent of making the best decision for the future of MLEC and the its membership.
- When faced with the decision of spending millions of dollars to renovate our current facility or build new,the board decided that the longevity of a new facility will serve MLEC best.
- Yes. Supply chain issues, dramatic price increases, and volatility in the market are all contributing factors to the cost of doing business. In addition, the current facility is going to require millions in upgrades and repairs in the next two years to maintain the facility.
One-third of the 2023 access charge increase is necessary to accommodate the cost to build a new facility. We will look at every possible avenue to reduce costs even more and keep the impact of this facility as minimal as we can on our membership.
- Without building a new facility, the rate increase would only be $3 less per month. This is because our existing facility will need some necessary repairs in the next 2-3 years just to keep it functional. We feel that building a new operations center that has room for expansion, accommodates our growing fleet and staff, and provides a safe place to work is worth the few extra dollars per month.
We have analyzed remodeling/rebuilding but it’s limiting. We’re looking longer term. Critical infrastructures like MLEC are evolving with innovations that serve our members. We need future flexibility because innovation means change. For example, today, we’re expanding the MLEC Fiber offering to help our members bridge rural America’s broadband accessibility gap. In just one year, we have doubled the amount of MLEC Fiber Internet customers. Other emerging opportunities span alternative energies, energy storage, standby generators, distributed generation and electric vehicle technologies. These new technologies mean opportunities for growth and expansion. A new facility will be built from the ground up with the next 80 years in mind.
Our current facility needs extensive updates including: cleaning/repair of duct work, HVAC upgrades, and other required modernizations. It would also need to be renovated internally to become ADA compliant.
Construction is estimated to cost 16 million. Any monies not used by our contractors (ARI and McGough Construction) will be returned to MLEC.
- We are unsure when costs will come down and feel that it is time to act before our existing facility needs extensive repairs/remodeling.
- It is a matter of planning for the future rather than being forced to make large investments unexpectedly. Our board and management team have laid out all of the possible scenarios, budgeted for each, and have made a calculated decision. We must be fiscally responsible and provide a safe place to conduct business.
The site is strategically located on Highway 169 and near Highway 18. That moves MLEC closer to the majority of its members, the bulk of outages and maintenance, and the two substations with the highest energy load.
MLEC is working with Architectural Resources Inc. and McGough Construction.
Once the project begins, a new operations center and headquarters can be completed in about 18 months.
- We will continue to serve our communities by supporting local programs and donating time and resources the way we always have. We will continue to work with local businesses for a variety of things such as supplies, vehicles, repairs, banking, and advertising. We live here, work here, and want to see the establishments in our communities thrive.
- Operation Round Up Grants, participating in community celebrations, donating to our schools, and volunteering for the greater good are all things that will not change.
Members can contact our office at 218-927-2191 or contact their elected board member.