Paul Bunyan Communications has announced they will be constructing a key, new facility at 510 SE 21st Street in Grand Rapids beginning this summer and opening in the late spring of 2020.
“It’s our hope that our new customer service and technology center will be a great addition to the Grand Rapids community and reinforce our cooperative’s commitment to the city and region. It will also position us to better serve this important and expanding part of our service area well into the future. I’m very excited that our employees, growing membership base and potential new customers will soon benefit from this great new facility,” said Gary Johnson, Paul Bunyan Communications CEO & General Manager.
The member-based, non-profit cooperative began expanding its all-fiber optic network to the Cohasset and Grand Rapids areas in 2004. Since then, Paul Bunyan Communications has continued to aggressively expand to rural areas of Itasca and St. Louis counties providing state of the art, gigabit Internet and other communication services to areas lacking these critical services Paul Bunyan Communications is now the largest broadband cooperative in the state of Minnesota.
“I’m really excited that Paul Bunyan Communications is investing in a new customer service and technology center here. The cooperative provides first class communication services to the region and with their commitment to local customer service also provides many good paying jobs in the technology field. I can’t wait to see their operations move to this beautiful new facility next year,” said Rick Blake, Grand Rapids City Councilor
“We are excited that Paul Bunyan has committed to expanding their office and service delivery in Grand Rapids. They are an important partner in our community. Economic development is currently one of the priorities of the County Board. Expansion of high speed internet is vital to that growth and improved customer service will certainly add benefit,” said Davin Tinquist, Itasca County Board Chair.
“Paul Bunyan has played an integral part in ‘connecting’ much of Itasca County through their broadband expansions,” said Tamara Lowney, President of Itasca Economic Development Corporation (IEDC). “We value their partnership with IEDC and their continued investment into our area, both through their expansion and their community minded investments. Their leadership in providing broadband to our rural communities in critical to attracting and retaining our workforce and families.”
The first Paul Bunyan Communications office in Grand Rapids was in leased space in the Central Square Mall from 2005-2008. To meet growing customer demand, their current larger leased retail space was opened in 2008 on Pokegama Ave South which will remain open until the cooperative-owned facility construction is complete.
The construction manager of the project is Kraus-Anderson (KA), one of the nation’s premier commercial general contractors and construction managers. Paul Bunyan Communications and KA have put a priority on hiring local contractors who are members of the cooperative for the project whenever feasible. KA has a deep and valued relationship with Paul Bunyan Communications, having constructed portions of their cooperative headquarters in Bemidji along with several additions, network facilities and remodeling projects.