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SSJID may build new headquarters
Site at Louise, Austin also accommodates retail power
The proposed South San Joaquin irrigation District’s new headquarters would be built on land it already owns on the northeast corner of Louise Avenue and Austin Road. - photo by RYAN BALBUENA

South San Joaquin Irrigation District is gearing up for the day their customer base may include more than 40,000 retail electrical customers by starting work on a master plan for a new headquarters.

The site is on 31 acres the district recently purchased on the northeast corner of Austin Road and Louise Avenue. It was acquired when the SSJID was replacing a canal that passes by the northeast corner of the property and burying it in a pipeline.

SSJID General Manager Jeff Shields said the location is also ideal for the district’s bid to enter the retail power business. It is adjacent to a power transmission line making it “perfect” for the district to build a power substation in the future.

“The site is central to our service area,” Shields added.

You can reach it from the Ripon area via Austin Road or Manteca and Escalon via Louise Avenue. It works well for water customers who are primarily farmers as well as future retail power customers. The site is just a mile north of the district’s current location that was built in the 1960s at 11011 East Highway 120 adjacent to the PG&E construction yard.

And if by chance the district doesn’t get the green light from the San Joaquin County Local Agency Formation Commission in January to enter the retail power business, the site will still work to expand their water operations.

Shields noted it is becoming more and more problematic for dump trucks and big equipment vehicles to exit the current headquarters.

“It wasn’t a problem when the (headquarters) was built In the 1960s,” Shields said.

The board when they Tuesday at 9 a.m. at the current district office will consider a proposal by WMB Architects to identify and determine requirements and then translate that into needed space and the development of a site master plan for $12,370.

The study would be done by sometime in November.

The firm has down similar work to master plan the Manteca municipal corporation yard expansion as well as the Lodi electric utility office and yard complex master plan among others.

The cost of the master plan - and eventually the construction of the buildings - will be covered by the district’s growing unrestricted reserves pushing $70 million.

If the retail project goes through the portion needed to accommodate electrical operations ultimately will be covered by ratepayers.