For the first time in the organization's 100-year history, the Henry County Farm Bureau is operating out of a building constructed specifically for its purposes.
For the first time in the organization’s 100-year history, the Henry County Farm Bureau is operating out of a building constructed specifically for its purposes.
“We’re in a building now that’s very functional and meets our needs,” said Henry County Farm Bureau manager Katie Laleman.
Last July, Farm Bureau officials announced plans to construct a new office building in downtown Cambridge.
Following six months of construction, the Henry County Farm Bureau officially opened the doors at its new location on Monday, Dec. 19.
In doing so, the Farm Bureau vacated the 132-year old East Street structure that had been home to the Farm Bureau for 85 years.
“It was so interesting to discover things from our history as we were packing up the building,” said Laleman.
Among items unearthed were minutes from the Henry County Farm Bureau’s very first meeting in 1917.
“The year 2017 marks our centennial. We’re starting our next 100 years in a new home. We’re able to look ahead for future generations while still looking back at those who have brought us this far,” said Laleman.
While the East Street building served the Farm Bureau’s needs for nearly nine decades, technological progress and changes in the organization made a change necessary.
“So much of what we do anymore can be done via e-mail or the Internet. We found we didn’t have a need for quite so much space,” said Laleman.
The 16,000 square foot East Street location featured three floors of space.
“At one point in the Farm Bureau’s history, all three floors were filled. There used to be soil testing laboratories in the basement and claims offices on the third floor,” said Laleman.
The new building, located at 128 N. Prospect St., features 3,200 square feet, but the space is better utilized by the Farm Bureau, said Laleman.
The new building features a conference room with a seating capacity of 75.
“When we started designing a new building, we first started with the conference room,” said Laleman.
The new meeting room includes an adjoining kitchenette and configuration flexibility for tables and chairs.
“Our meeting room is almost twice the size of the meeting room in the old building,” said Laleman.
In addition to meeting space, the new Farm Bureau building includes office space for Farm Bureau staff as well as tenant space for Country Financial agent Tom McKie.
The new building meets ADA accessibility requirements and is designed to be more energy efficient.
Precision Carpentry, of Geneseo, served as the general contractor for the project, and, whenever possible, sub-contractors were from Henry County.
“Hiring local sub-contractors was a big priority for us. We wanted to do as much good as we possibly could in Henry County,” said Laleman.
An open house and centennial celebrations will be observed in the future.
Until then, Laleman said she encourages Henry County residents to stop by and visit the new Farm Bureau office.
“We’ve heard nothing but positive comments from our members who’ve already visited the building,” she said.