Bently breaks ground for new facility at Science Park | RecordCourier.com

Bently breaks ground for new facility at Science Park

by Sharon Carter

When Bently Nevada’s operations move into its new headquarters next fall, founder Don Bently says he is apt to stay in his old office at the Bently Rotor Dynamics Research Corp. building, affectionately known as the “Bird Rock.”

“I might just stay in the research building,” Bently said Thursday after pitching a ceremonial shovelful of dirt at the site of the building that will house his Bently Nevada corporate headquarters and its Nevada manufacturing operations.

“We’ll have the board room in the new building, but when people need something, they can take it to the president (Roger Harker) – I’ll be a little farther away,” Bently said.

Work at the 30-acre site at Buckeye and Orchard roads ceased for an hour or so while about 70 Carson Valley and Bently Nevada notables witnessed the ceremonial ground breaking.

“This will be our first really nice building in Minden,” Don Bently said.

The new 250,000-square-foot building will consolidate operations of the company’s eight separate Carson Valley locations.

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Bently said although he has concerns about world economics, the company is going ahead with the building because things are fundamentally good and the business is there.

Historical site. Other speakers at the ceremony recounted the company’s 44-year history of outgrowing its space and Bently’s long-range goal of consolidating his Nevada operations at the Bently Science Park.

Bently Chief of Security and local historian, Bob Ellison, recounted the history of the site at the southwest corner of Orchard and Buckeye lanes. Known as Ferris Heights, Ellison said the property became part of the Buckeye Ranch after H.F. Dangberg and Margaret Ferris married. It became the heart of the Dangberg sheep operation when the rancher built brick lambing pens, which protected the pregnant ewes from inclement weather. That protection, unheard of at the time, allowed Dangberg sheep to lamb earlier than other area ranchers’ so that by fall, Dangberg’s marketable lambs were biggest.

Ellison said the Minden lambing pens had also served as a backdrop for an Anthony Quinn movie called “The Sheepherder.”

Industrial cycle. But, Ellison said, there was always an industrial aspect to the property. He noted that because of its central location and its position above the flood plain, the property housed the ranch’s largest blacksmith shop, its wheelwright shop and its “high and dry” granaries.

Part of the Bently Science Park, the site was acquired by Bently in 1978, when he bought the Buckeye Ranch.

Ellison characterized the Science Park expansion onto the site as a continuation of the historical cycle.

Like the Dangbergs, Ellison said, Bently Nevada is “investing in infrastructure… that will enable this company to make itself a winner in the marketplace.”

The building. The 54-foot high building will cover about six acres of the site and carries an estimated price tag of $25 million. It will be built by San Diego-based Lusardi Construction, which has an office in Reno. Lusardi is a company described by the event’s master of ceremonies, Bently Nevada Vice Chairman Chris Bently, as the firm which has done other Bently Nevada projects including the recent research building expansion which, Chris Bently said, Lusardi brought in “on time and under budget.”

Bently President and Chief Operating Officer Roger Harker said the building will likely be the largest, non-gaming manufacturing facility in western Nevada.

As well as offices, labs and manufacturing space, the building will also contain a kitchen, dining room and an employee fitness center.

Conserving energy. And everything, Harker said, is designed to be energy-efficient.

“Everything utilized is most efficient, all the glass is coated to reduce heat gain,” he said. “We’ll have high tech heating and cooling and 100-percent standby power generation capability. Under peak (power use) conditions when the cost of power is highest, that could be an attribute.”

Project Manager Ken Forbes said some design adjustments were made to accommodate the community.

“The outside lighting is zoned to accommodate the neighbors as much as possible and we’ve moved the parking away from Orchard Road as far as we can,” Forbes said. “The design is flexible and responsive to the needs of Bently Nevada. It also accommodates the needs of company employees and the community.”

He said the new building was designed with room to grow to the north.

After the ceremony, workers and tractors near the site resumed their labors – laying pipe and clearing and grading the future roadbed of Bently Parkway South.

The Record-Courier E-mail: rc@tahoe.com

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