Those of you who attended the section meetings in 2018 know that this association has been in operation for 90 years. Our first International Office was in Chicago, and we moved to our current location in Dallas in 1992. While we have made good use of the building for nearly 30 years, it was deteriorating. We did general maintenance, with several remodel projects over the years, but the building was in need of major repairs as several of the HVAC units were not working, the roof was leaking, and the office layout and furniture were outdated.
We had to make a decision to relocate or to renovate. The Board assembled a facilities task group in 2015 to look at all options—sell, purchase, lease, or renovate. In 2016, the Board approved the option to renovate our existing building for several reasons:
- We had our building on the market for more than a year without any serious offers;
- the cost to purchase real estate had increased drastically;
- we reached only half of our $2 million fundraising goal; and
- the association did not want to borrow money.
From the beginning (and starting with the design stage), we received staff input on the design and layout of the building, which included office layouts, workstations, furniture, and even the color of the flooring and walls.
We spent much of summer 2018 in full construction mode with the building undergoing a major overhaul from roof to foundation. The key improvements include a new electrical system; a business class wireless system; a new Information Technology wiring infrastructure; an upgraded fire alarm and security system; new light-emitting diode (LED) lighting; and a complete interior redesign, which includes new offices, workstations, furniture, a training room, meeting rooms, and a library. Many people who have toured the building have commented on how modern it now is and how the offices and workstations flow better with everyone working together on the second floor.
Our goal to upgrade our technology infrastructure, make the building more energy efficient, and to have a building that created a more conducive and productive work environment was achieved. The renovations were completed on time and within budget.
In this issue of the magazine, we are exploring different facets of the electrical grid. During our building renovations, we paid special attention to how we could do our part to build for the future of the association while also being more energy efficient and putting less strain on the grid. We installed new insulation on the roof and in the ceiling, a new energy-efficient HVAC, and new LED lighting.
This building will serve us well into the future, not only with the infrastructure upgrades, but also by providing a larger training room on the first floor to conduct classes. The old capacity was 30 people. Now, we can accommodate 70. The new room can also be used by outside groups for meetings and events.
We celebrated the grand reopening of our building in November 2018. The reception coincided with the Board of Directors’ annual meeting and featured tours of the renovated building, a barbeque dinner, and a Chamber of Commerce ribbon-cutting ceremony.
I’m very excited that all of our Board of Directors and a number of our industry partners could attend, as the building renovations would not have been possible without their kind donations and support. We are also grateful to all of you who donated to the capital campaign. Your generous donations have positioned us to move forward into the next 90 years.