PERHAM — The remodeling project at Arvig’s headquarters building in downtown Perham is nearly complete. With only a little work left to do on the third floor, the building is now open for employees and clients.
“It’s a nice building,” said Arvig Marketing Manager Rachel Laudenbach. “Everybody seems to be enjoying it. People have been enjoying the sunlight.”
When Arvig first started rebuilding its office and client spaces at 150 Second Street S.W. about two years ago, one of the company’s goals was to bring in as much sunlight as possible. Now, there are tall windows throughout the building — some that stretch from floor to ceiling, and even some at the basement level, which previously didn’t have much natural light.
To allow that sunlight to flow throughout the building, glass has been heavily incorporated into the interior design, from the tops of employee’s cubicles to the walls of some private office spaces and conference rooms.
The windows are electrochromic, meaning they’re programmed to dim or get lighter as needed.
“So the windows are very nice because if the sunlight is super high, it doesn’t glare all the computers,” Laudenbach explained.
Because of the electrochromic windows, the Arvig building is a flagship project for Otter Tail Power Company and Geo Optimize.
Another energy-efficient upgrade to the building is the lighting system. All the LED lights at Arvig operate using occupancy sensors, meaning they’ll turn off if someone isn’t in the space for a certain amount of time. There is also a white roofing membrane that reflects and reduces the building’s solar heat gain in the summers. These features help the building exceed its insulation energy code by more than 15%.
The retail area, designed for Arvig’s customer service and open to the public, was designed for comfort, almost resembling a living room. Couches, arm chairs, booths and other seating options are placed throughout the space, next to tall windows and beneath a tall, open ceiling. The front desk is right through the main glass doors beneath the big exterior Arvig sign, and the entire area is wheelchair-accessible.
Kasota stone panels surround the building’s exterior, lobby and elevator. Quarried from southern Minnesota, the stone is the same used at Target Field in Minneapolis.
In the future, Arvig also hopes to have a space for customers to drive through and drop off payments without having to stop inside. That part of the project is not yet complete.
Arvig wanted to increase the overall size of its building with this project, and has added about 24,000 square feet, making the building about 74,000 total square feet (big enough to cover a city block, if it were all one level). The new square footage encompasses a patio, where employees can sit outside during their lunch or other breaks, and an expanded break room inside, as well as a larger employee meeting room.
“It’s super nice for employees,” Laudenbach said of the break room upgrades. “They put a lot of thought and effort into it because our other break room was quite small. Now, we have this gorgeous place. People can sit by the fire and relax.”
There’s a new fireplace in the break room, as well as TVs, lots of seating, and a kitchen area with multiple sinks and microwaves, an ice machine and a larger refrigerator.
“The ice machine was the most-requested thing by employees — crushed ice and having lots of it,” Laudenbach explained. “So that was a very big deal with (the rebuild).”
The Don Swenson Conference Room, which holds all-employee meetings, is about double the size it previously was. With screens for employees to join in from out of state, and microphones hanging from the ceiling, the room is complete with what Laudenbach describes as state-of-the-art video and audio equipment.
Along with larger spaces, there is also a new gaming room — featuring arcade games — where employees can blow off steam and relax during their breaks. Off the side of that room is some exercise equipment for anyone who wants to get in a workout. The space is complete with seating and tables for work spaces, as well.
“This invites people to come in, you know, and just chill,” Laudenbach explained. “They can actually work here if they want to relax and look out these windows.”
Arvig also added coffee stations throughout the building, in central areas with the most foot traffic. Bathrooms are located centrally, too, with everything being touchless, for safety reasons.
The entire rebuild was completed with the safety and security of employees in mind, Laudenbach said. Key cards are required to enter different employee spaces throughout the building, and there are extra security cameras to monitor the halls and rooms.
The Arvig Operations Center in Perham, which is located across the street from Arvig’s headquarters, was recently demolished for a total rebuild. It will be redone and, company leaders expect, complete by 2023. In the meantime, employees that would normally work at the Operations Center are instead working from the newly-remodeled headquarters.
“We appreciate (the community’s) patience,” Laudenbach said.
She emphasized that community members are welcome to stop by Arvig’s retail entrance to see the space.
Arvig is a Perham-based telecommunications company with 27 data centers within its network and more than 14,500 fiber-route miles through which it provides service to other telecommunications companies, wireless carriers and more than 54,000 internet customers in more than half the counties in Minnesota.
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