Jackson Electric Membership Corporation (EMC) dedicated a new Neese District Office complex June 6 at the intersection of Hwy. 29 and Spratlin Mill Road in Madison County.
The complex will serve approximately 15,000 customers in Madison, Clarke, Jackson and Oglethorpe counties. It replaces a 55-year-old facility on Hwy. 106 that cooperative operations have outgrown.
Designed by Millard Architects, Inc., and built by Garrard Construction Group, the complex includes a 14,324-square-foot administrative building, a drive-thru canopy and three drive-thru lanes, an 18,000-square-foot warehouse/truck storage area, a transformer/pole yard and fleet parking. The entrance and exit to the complex is on Spratlin Mill Road, then onto Hwy. 29.
“This new District Office gives us the space we need to provide the quality service we know our members expect,” said Jackson EMC President/CEO Chip Jakins. “It’s centrally located to allow us to more quickly serve members throughout the district, and to make it easier for our members to visit us when they’d like. And even though we’re on a busy highway, the line of site and flat land here will help ensure both our employees’ safety as they go to and from work, as well as our members’ safety when they come by to pay their bill.”
The cooperative broke ground for the new office in August 2013, with an expected move-in date of late August 2014.
“We beat that move-in date by nearly three months, despite more than 70 days of rain during construction,” said Chairman of the Jackson EMC Board of Directors Otis Jones. “In addition, 70 percent of the subcontractors and materials used to build this facility were from the region we serve, which has meant jobs for people in this area and revenue for companies that supplied the project.”
As part of the dedication ceremonies, a 3,064-square-foot auditorium included in the new district administration building as a community service was dedicated in the honor of life-long Madison County resident and former Jackson EMC board member Paul Burroughs.
“Paul spent his life serving others,” said retired Jackson EMC President/CEO Randall Pugh. “He received a Purple Heart for his service in World War II, an injury that cost him his right leg. He served the residents of Colbert for 26 years as their Postmaster. And he represented this area faithfully on the Jackson EMC board of directors for 35 years, helping guide this cooperative through years of major growth and change.”
The auditorium can accommodate 160 with row seating or 120 with table seating, and can be subdivided for smaller meetings. It will be available to civic and non-profit organizations by reservation on a first-come, first-served basis.
The administrative offices of the new complex opened for business Monday, June 9. Warehouse, pole yard and engineering/operations functions will move to the complex at a later date, when diminished supplies make the transfer more efficient.