Three multi-million-dollar construction projects are underway – two in Roseburg and one on the western edge of Winston.

A $4.4 million renovation of the Douglas Education Service District building at 1871 NE Stephens St., Roseburg, began in April. That project is scheduled to be completed in February 2022.

A block to the north at 1981 NE Stephens St., a $7.5 million project to construct a new headquarters building for Douglas Electric Cooperative is underway. That project included salvaging and then demolishing the old building that had served the co-op for the past 72 years. That work has been done and now the ground is being leveled and compacted for the future building site.

The Douglas Electric project is scheduled to be completed in July 2022.

In Winston, the Douglas County Farmers Co-op has started a $6.7 million project to construct another main store, a convenience/deli mart and gas station at the corner of Highway 42 and Abraham Avenue. Excavation of the sod from the 4.7-acre property that had previously been bare land is underway with a rock pad soon to follow.

That project has August 2022 as an estimated time of completion. At that time, the co-op will move out of the smaller leased building that it has occupied for the past six years in the Winston Shopping Center.

Douglas ESD Renovation

The 20,000-square-foot building is being renovated to make room for the district’s expanding programs and services, to replace interior infrastructure, to upgrade electrical systems and to improve airflow, to create a more welcoming environment and to improve seismic resiliency.

The new offices and evaluation rooms will be home to the Early Learning and Parenting Resource Center.

The exterior of the building will get new paint and some other minor upgrades. New lighting will be installed in the parking lot and there’ll be digital signage.

The general contractor for the project is Harmon Construction of Coos Bay.

Douglas County Farmers Co-op Construction

“We’ve grown out of our space,” said Melvin Burke, general manager of the farmers co-op, of the Winston Shopping Center building. “Our customers told us they want more offerings. We need more space.”

That will come with a new 16,000-square-foot main store, a 5,640-square-foot convenience store and deli mart, an outside storage area of 4,800 square feet, a Shell fuel station and a parking lot with 158 spaces. The business will offer more garden, pet, farm and ranch, fencing and hay supplies with a drive-through pickup area. It’ll be equal to what the co-op’s headquarters store in Roseburg offers, plus it’ll have an inside pet washing area and four electric vehicle recharging stations.

There’ll be two entrances to the business off Abraham Avenue. Along the front entrance to the main store will be a 10-foot overhead cover and the approach to the building will be all flat, eliminating any curbs or tripping hazards.

Burke said a sculpture or some other type of artwork of animals will eventually be added to the front to fit in with Winston’s Wildlife Safari theme.

Burke said the initial plan was to break ground on the project back in April to coincide with the co-op’s 100-year anniversary celebration, but numerous delays in getting paperwork and permits done and approved and products delivered put the work off until recently. Burke said it took almost a year to get three 26,000-gallon fiberglass underground storage tanks for the fuel station.

He said the timing for the expansion project is just right.

“We’re having another good year,” Burke said of sales. “The public has really patronized our business. What we sell is relevant in the marketplace. For us to be green and growing, we must continue to grow our business. Our expansion in Winston is allowing us to do that.”

The co-op’s present Winston business has 15 employees. Burke said the new facility will have about 40 employees with 16 to 18 of them being full-time and the rest part-time. There’ll be a store manager with two assistants and a convenience store manager with one assistant.

“It’s going to be a unique opportunity for us there,” Burke said. “The store will be the first thing people coming into Winston (going east) will see. There’ll be no hiding this store.

“The city of Winston, the Winston-Dillard Water District, Douglas County, they’ve all been very supportive of our project,” he added. “We’ve appreciated that.”

Hours for the new store will be 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and for the convenience store, deli mart and fuel station 5 a.m. to 10 p.m.

“If we find business will sustain us to be open longer, we’ll adjust to that,” Burke added.

H3 General Contractors of Roseburg is the lead contractor for the project.

“It is very important to hire local contractors and sub-contractors to do our project,” Burke said. “It’s very important to our board to use local businesses and workers.”

Douglas Electric Construction

After months of discussion, paperwork and delays, and a couple unforeseen events, this project is moving forward from the ground up. The leveling and compacting of the ground for the building site was progressing this past week.

General Manager Keith Brooks said this project has been on his desk since he became the co-op’s G.M. in January 2018. It was well known by the staff and the co-op’s board of directors that the old building had numerous issues, including not meeting present day building or seismic codes, cracked roof and walls that were allowing water to leak into the interior, a lack of electrical outlets, limited insulation, inefficient heating and cooling systems, and restrooms not up to Americans With Disabilities Act standards.

The project was first interrupted by the snowmageddon event in February 2019. After working through the impact and outages of that storm and having time to re-focus on the building project, the Covid pandemic then struck. Dealing with the pandemic took priority. The virus also resulted in labor and materials shortages in numerous industries, and spikes in the price of materials that were available. The building project was again delayed.

The construction plans and permits now have the appropriate stamp.

“We feel that getting a new state-of-the-art office, plus expanding our storage yard, building a new warehouse and loading dock for approximately $7.5 million is a good deal, especially when you consider recent increases in material and labor costs,” Brooks said. “We’re making compromises to keep the project on budget. It hasn’t been a smooth process with once-in-a-lifetime events like snowmageddon and a worldwide pandemic being thrown in our way. But it’s going to be worth it.”

The DEC administrative staff is working in temporary office space at 1600 NE Diamond Lake Blvd.

Pence Construction of Salem is the lead contractor.

“There’s been a strong emphasis placed on using local sub-contractors for the work,” Brooks said.

“I can’t wait to stand in the lobby of the new building that’s really going to serve our members well,” he added. The co-op provides power to 8,000 members and their 10,000 meters. “The frustrations now will lead to satisfaction when it’s done.”

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