Kodiak Electric Association Opens New Headquarters

kea_building.jpgThe new Kodiak Electric Association headquarters on Mill Bay Road. Kayla Desroches/KMXT

Kayla Desroches/KMXT

The Kodiak Electric Association recently completed its new building, which was designed by ECI / Hyer
Architecture. Construction began in June 2014 and staff starting working there in October.

KEA is responsible for Kodiak’s electric grid, which runs mostly off of hydro and wind power, and so its new headquarters is shaped with the same “green” mentality.

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KEA’s new headquarters on Mill Bay Road is minimalist and streamlined, with lots of large spaces and fresh, white surfaces. Executive Assistant Katrina Refior first leads me into several meeting rooms on the first floor.

There are distinguished-looking chairs pushed in around a table and the room boasts big windows to let in the light and heat, but it’s the 90-inch TV that impresses me the most.

Downstairs, we enter through the work area where the operations crew begins the day, and we pass an entire wall of whiteboard to get to the engineering room. Inside, system engineer Colin Young explains that the long machine on one table is a plotter that can print gigantic maps, and then he points out a computer monitor in one corner where we can see wind turbines functioning in real-time.

“So, like, all these squiggly lines. This our frequency. You can see we’re peaking out here. The green lines are fly wheels.”

“So what does that mean? How fast it’s spinning?” I ask.

“How much power it’s putting out, and then the frequency tells us a lot about the health of our system.”

We drop by a kitchen with a stove, two microwaves and two fridges, enough for the roughly thirty staff members in the building and those with shifts that stretch through the night.

There’s also a mud room with a huge shower for when workers return from dirty jobs, like installing utility poles in hard-to reach locations.  

“So, when our guys come in, they’re working in rain and snow and mud and lots of good ol’ Kodiak conditions, they can come in here, wash down their equipment so they don’t track everything everywhere.”

And Refior says the building’s design is sustainable.

 “Like, LED lights that are going to last a long time, twenty years at least I think, and in-floor heat – it’s always better – a heat pump, rather than using heating oil.”

You can check out all these features at KEA’s open house Friday. Drop by 1614 Mill Bay Road between 3 and 6 p.m. for tours, and cookies from Java Flats.
    

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