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Coast Electric breaks ground

KILN — Coast Electric Power Association has broken ground on the electric cooperative’s headquarters facility in Kiln. The new facility on Highway 603 will allow Coast Electric members to conduct business with the cooperative in a more efficient and convenient manner than the current trailer facilities are able to provide.

In 2006, the Coast Electric sold its headquarters complex to the City of Bay St. Louis. Coast Electric was outgrowing the complex, and after Hurricane Katrina started to consider consolidating the headquarters with its operations center in Kiln, a location that is centrally located in the company’s three-county service area and far enough north of I-10 that rising waters would not be a concern during storm season.

Employees who worked in the former headquarters building have been working in temporary trailers in Kiln since the sale in Dec. 2006. Coast Electric maintains its presence in the Bay St. Louis/Waveland area of Hancock County with a branch office on U.S. 90 in Bay St. Louis.

The new facility will consist of two buildings. The main building will be 36,453 square feet, and the annex building will provide an additional 20,647 square feet of space and will house a large room that will be available for community use. Members will have the ability to pay their bills, sign up for new service, learn about Coast Electric programs and services, find out how to live energy efficient lifestyles and have interaction with cooperative employees. The new facility will also house several departments including, engineering, meter reading, human resources, purchasing, marketing, accounting and billing and GIS.

“We wanted a very functional building with few bells and whistles that would remain functional far off into the future,” said Coast Electric president and CEO Bob Occhi in his remarks at the groundbreaking ceremony. “We wanted a traditional look that demonstrates to our members that we hold traditional values and have stability to serve their needs for a long time. Despite the traditional look, we have incorporated state of the art building technology. Energy efficiency and respect for the environment were major concerns.”

Construction is expected to be complete in Dec. 2010. The architect on the project is Usry Architects, P.A., of Clinton. The contractor is Rod Cooke Construction Inc., of Mobile, Ala.


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