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Construction underway: BLP office sees renovations, but remains open

Construction inside the Marquette Board of Light and Power office along Wright Street in Marquette is pictured. (Journal photo by Cecilia Brown)

MARQUETTE — Those who have recently visited the Marquette Board of Light and Power’s office along Wright Street in Marquette might have noticed a bit of construction going on inside.

The front office, which is still open for business, is being remodeled. It houses customer service, accounting, finance and collection staff, BLP Executive Director Tom Carpenter said.

“We tore everything out and we’re building way more efficient and comfortable work stations for everybody in the front office here,” he said.

The building was constructed in the 1970s, and the area was “well overdue for an update,” Carpenter said, noting the renovations aim to make the office area more ergonomic, safe, secure and customer-friendly. The project also makes use of energy-efficient bulbs and improved heating system calibration, he said.

“The primary drivers on that whole project were: one, employee ergonomics, the comfort which they have in their working conditions,” said Toby Smith, manager of accounting and customer service at the BLP. “And two, is the safety.”

Due to the construction, these staff members have temporarily been relocated to the building’s board room, which can be accessed through the main entrance.

“We’re open, we’ve got a reconfigured billing and customer service area that (customers) can get into from the normal entrance,” Carpenter said. “Feel free to come in as you need.”

The work is anticipated to be completed in early December, Carpenter said, noting the BLP’s next board of directors meeting will be held at Lakeview Arena due to the ongoing construction.

The project, which was awarded by bid to local contractor Closner Construction for about $131,500, is the first phase of a longer process, Carpenter said.

This is because employees housed at offices in the now-retired Shiras Steam Plant — which the BLP plans to demolish — will eventually need to move over to the Wright Street offices, and more space will be needed.

“We’re working through designs now. I would hope by the end of the year we’re ready to put it out for bids and then start on it in the spring sometime,” Carpenter said, noting the BLP aims to include a new board room in the project.

Cecilia Brown can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 248.