Provo Power’s new building better prepared for emergencies

Dozens of residents line up for free hot dogs, provided and cooked by Provo Power employees. (Carley Porter)

Provo Power celebrated the opening of its new building at 251 W. 800 East Provo on Oct. 20. Festivities included hula hooping, free hot dogs, giveaways and a chance to ride in a construction crane.

This new building is a change after 76 years in the same location, but employees confidently said it needed to happen.

Mayor John Curtis attended the event and said “the old building would have crumbled” in the case of an earthquake.

Provo Power assistant director Scott Bunker also said the new building is not only prepared to withstand earthquakes but floods as well. In the case of a flood, all important equipment is on the second floor of the building, keeping it theoretically safe from harm.

Bunker said the prime goal for Provo Power is to better serve and help the community with power needs.

“No matter what else happens, we can still man a response to get power to the city,” Bunker said.

Scott Bunker speaks before the ribbon cutting. Both he and Mayor John Curtis spoke about the excitement over the new building. (Carley Porter)

Energy department director Travis Fall, who gave guided tours of the new building, said the new location allows a 10-minute response to anywhere in the city.

The new building has updated emergency response standards and is incredibly energy efficient, according to both Curtis and Bunker.

Curtis said the building is “gold LEED standard.” LEED — Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design — is a third-party verification process for green buildings. From least to greatest, the ratings are certified, silver, gold and platinum. Provo Power’s gold LEED rating makes it one of the most energy efficient buildings in Provo.

Tad Smallcomb is an electrical engineering manager and 14-year employee at Provo Power. Smallcomb said the company wants to show the Provo community how to be more green and energy efficient.

“It’s spectacular,” Smallcomb said. “I think the nicest thing is the light. There’s a lot of natural light.”

Using natural light is another way Provo Power is trying to be more energy efficient.

In addition to emergency preparedness and energy efficiency, Provo Power wanted to preserve its historical legacy. Bunker said a lot of architectural design and artwork within the new building pays homage to the old facility.

Artwork includes pictures of the old building and even physical components, including the old Provo Power insignia etched in stone which hangs above the front desk.

Bunker foresees a cleaner and brighter future for Provo Power customers, which begins with this building.

BYU student Cooper Brown plays with children in the Provo Power opening’s hula hooping activity. Brown was a DJ for the event. (Carley Porter)

Not much was said in regard to whether or not this new building will affect the recently rescinded solar power ordinance. PR representative Kat Linford only said Provo Power will be on the commission to discuss the ordinance further.

Despite the failed first attempt to cut through the ceremonial ribbon, the event was fun for all. Meredeth Bliss, with two boys in tow, went to the event anticipating a good time. She said her 3-year-old son has been obsessed with construction and she wanted him to see the finished building.

“I’ve really liked (Provo Power),” Bliss said. “Once I started following them on Facebook I’ve been more aware of what they do. I like watching how quickly they get things done and they do a very good job of keeping the public informed.”

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