Vinita – The Grand River Dam Authority Board of Directors has given its approval to GRDA plans to purchase a Tulsa office building. The board made that decision during its regular monthly meeting, held in Vinita on May 9.
According to GRDA Chief Executive Officer/Director of Investments Dan Sullivan, GRDA began exploring a possible expansion into Tulsa after reviewing earlier plans for new construction.
“The simple fact is, it’s less expensive to buy than build new,” said Sullivan, adding that federal regulations, current space limitations and the need to address recruiting issues were all factors in GRDA’s decision to focus on the Tulsa property.
“We feel a location in Tulsa will allow us to address our space and recruiting needs,” said Sullivan
The Tulsa location will also allow GRDA to free up much-needed space in its other facilities. That is a necessity, said Sullivan, due to the regulations and security standards GRDA must meet. Many of those standards are handed down both by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC).
“With additional space we will be able to meet the new regulations that we continue to see,” said Sullivan. “The Tulsa office will give us a lot of room to meet the immediate needs and room to grow for the new regulations in the future.”
A back up control center (BUCC), where GRDA would operate its energy delivery system if its primary center was damaged or inaccessible, will also be located at the Tulsa facility. NERC requires GRDA to have a BUCC in its system.
A Tulsa location would give GRDA a more centrally-located presence within its 24-county service district in Northeast Oklahoma. The utility has over 1,200 miles of transmission lines in the state, with a customer base stretching from the Arkansas border to Stillwater, and from the Kansas border to Sallisaw.
Sullivan added that the Tulsa acquisition is only one part of GRDA’s current expansion plans. As soon as designs are completed and contracts are in place, the utility will also be constructing a new Transmission Headquarters near Pryor and the MidAmerica Industrial Park.
“The current Pryor structure will be torn down and replaced with this new building,” said Sullivan. “The new Transmission building will provide the kind of workspace our personnel have needed for many years.”
The current structure, built in the late 1970s, leaks, lacks proper insulation and is now obsolete. The new building will allow GRDA to reinvest in the Pryor community.
“The new building, along with the plans we have for upgrades at our coal fired facility represent nearly a half billion dollars worth of investments GRDA will be making in the Pryor area in the near future,” said Sullivan.
Despites rumors related to the Tulsa acquisition, Sullivan said GRDA has no plans to close its Pryor or Vinita locations.
Headquartered in Vinita, GRDA is Oklahoma’s state-owned electric utility; fully funded by revenues from electric and water sales instead of taxes. Directly or indirectly, GRDA’s low-cost, reliable; electricity serves nearly 500,000 homes in Oklahoma and stretches into 75 of 77 counties in the state. At no cost to Oklahoma taxpayers, GRDA also manages 70,000 surface acres of lakes in the state, including Grand Lake, Lake Hudson and the W.R. Holway Reservoir. Today, GRDA’s 500 employees continue to produce the same “power for progress” that has benefited the state for 75 years.
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