by Garrett Neese - Mining Gazette
RIPLEY - The Houghton County Road Commission showed off its new facility during an open house Wednesday afternoon.
The new 14,400-square-foot building was completed April 15. The process began two years ago after a late snow collapsed the road commission's millworks, which was being used for cold storage.
The shop moved into the new building about seven to eight weeks ago, said county Engineer kevin Harju. Office staff moved over two weeks ago, after coordinating phone and computer systems, and finding a time "where we can get everyone together at one time and have mass chaos for a day," he said.
Harju said the open house was held to show the public the new building and how nice it turned out.
"Instead of the local community questioning a road project or why we had snow pushed in our driveway, we're showing them where we are, who we are, " he said. "And this is a building that was essentially built at zero net cost to the taxpayers between the insurance claim and when we sell our old office building."
The shop area itself is larger and taller, with better lighting and air quality, due to a faster air exchange, Harju said.
At the old shop, workers didn't have enough room to make repairs to their sanders indoors, forcing them to go out even in the worst of winter, Harju said. That's not a problem in the new space.
"Mechanics are saying they wish they had a shop like this 30 years ago, " he said. "It just makes it night and day coming into work to come to such a bright, well-put-together shop. "
Other road commissions have been impressed with the new building. Marquette County may build a facility with a similar layout later this year, Harju said.
The cost of the new facility was $1,468,603.03. Of that, the insurance claim on the millworks facility covered $985,964.87.
Moyle Construction handled both the demolition of the old millworks and the new building.
"We really appreciate that Kevin and his team put their trust in us to keep the project with a local business," said Andrew Kemper, project manager for Moyle Construction. "Every trade hour on the project was performed by the local craftsmen."
People touring the new building said they were impressed.
"It's a really nice facility," said Brady Schaefer, a surveyor for Bacco Construction. "The new shop, with the overhead, everything's so big. The offices are nice.