MANDAN, N.D (KXNET) — The North Dakota Association of Rural Electric Cooperatives (NDAREC) will be completing and unveiling their new Lineworker Training Center and headquarters on Friday, October 14.

The updates and new buildings were constructed with the help of NADREC’s members and cooperatives providing support. A $4 million grant from the Economic Development Administration also covered about 70% of the total cost of the establishments.

The newly-constructed Training Center, a 26,337-square-foot building, aims to provide year-round training for students of Bismarck State College’s electric lineworker programs, as well as the entire cooperative’s workforce. Of particular note is the center’s 18,000-square-foot indoor training area, featuring 50-foot walls with 44-foot ceiling clearance. This area helps to provide both current and future lineworkers with developing skills necessary for working with both overhead and underground electrical infrastructure.

In addition to the massive training grounds, the building also includes two classrooms for basic instruction and a simulator room for Commercial Driver’s Licence training. The center is officially owned by NDAREC and its members but is leased to BSC as they offer the lineworker program. The partnership between BSC and NDAREC has trained over 1,700 apprentice lineworkers in their 52 years of cooperation.

 “The new Lineworker Training Center stands as a testament to the electric cooperative commitment to our current and future workforce, to meeting the needs of our industry and, above all, powering the lives of our members and the communities we serve,” says NDAREC general manager and executive vice president Josh Kramer in a press release.

The NDAREC headquarters has also received a complete renovation, now focused on meeting the future needs of the state’s electric cooperatives. Aside from two electric vehicle charging stations, the main highlight of his new center is the Cooperative Center — an area offering meeting spaces, improved technology, and further training and education. Of particular note here are floor-to-floor art and video displays showcasing the history and values of North Dakota’s electric cooperatives.

The official reopening event for both the HQ and training center will take place on Friday, October 14, at the Mandan campus from 10:00 a.m. — 2:00 p.m. The shocking celebration will begin with remarks from representatives from the NDAREC and invited guests, followed by tours of the NDAREC renovated headquarters and public demonstrations from BSC’s own lineworker students.

“For more than 80 years, North Dakota’s electric cooperatives have evolved to meet the needs of their members,” says Kramer. These investments show that, as cooperatives, we are focused on the future and ready to meet the challenges ahead for our industry. And, as we celebrate National Co-op Month in October, cooperative principle No. 6 — cooperation among cooperatives — is a guiding reminder that, together, we can accomplish great things. The cooperative spirit is alive and well.”

For more information about the NDAREC, visit their website.