The Bonneville Power Administration will dedicate its new maintenance headquarters in Pasco in honor of its relationship with area tribes on Sept. 29.
It is the first time the BPA will give a facility a Native American name, Nekitpe, meaning “thinking place” in Nez Perce.
The Nez Perce and other tribes who have lived in the Mid-Columbia or gathered here seasonally have worked closely with BPA as it rebuilds three major transmission lines across the Hanford nuclear reservation.
The Hanford Tribal Technical Working Group has educated BPA staff, helping to protect sacred and culturally significant sites in areas crossed by the transmission lines. The group proposed the name at BPA’s request.
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Nekitpe, pronounced neh-kit-puh, was opened a year ago without a name as work continued to complete the structure at 2211 N. Commercial Ave. in Pasco.
The $16.3 million maintenance headquarters includes four main buildings on a 20-acre campus.
It includes a 13,300-square-foot office building; a 19,650-square-foot shop with a mezzanine; a 13,350-square-foot vehicle maintenance shop with a mezzanine and an adjacent 1,000-square-foot storage and vehicle wash bay structure; and a 5,600-square-foot covered parking area.
Some 85 employees, including field crews and other personnel who support and maintain BPA’s high-voltage power system in the region will work at the maintenance headquarters.
Staff will include maintenance crews, electricians and communication and other equipment operators and support personnel, including realty, environmental protection, safety, energy efficiency and customer service agents.
Previously, BPA staff in the Tri-Cities were based as several widely separated buildings and offices, some of them old enough to have potential safety issues. The new complex is improving communication and collaboration as well as providing improved security for staff and equipment, according to BPA.
The contractor for the project was Skanska USA and LRS Architects did the design worn.
The dedication, which will include a tribal blessing and tour, is at 11 a.m. Those planning to attend are asked to call 503-230-7685.