The flooding of 2010 in Owatonna did significant damage to Steele County highway maintenance equipment and the building that housed their offices. The process to replace that building has come to its conclusion with their new facility at 3000 Hoffman Drive on the west side of Owatonna. An open house was held Monday to give the general public a chance to view its features.

Funds for the new building came from a combination of a FEMA grant, local tax payers, and a Minnesota state bond. Total construction cost was $8.3 millions dollars according to material provided at the open house. The structure features large space for vehicle storage and maintenance, offices, materials and testing lab, the county sign shop, plus areas for expansion.

After the flooding, numerous options were considered and ultimately the 45-acre was selected by the Steele County board. On-site work began in the summer of 2016. Construction of the building started two years later. Highway Department staff began operating out of the new facility this past spring. Engineering and administration moved their offices there this summer. The building officially opened for public business on August 19.

There is a 5,400-square-foot salt and sand storage shed, in addition to a fuel island and a storage barn, which offers about 9,000 square feet of space. The first floor is nearly 37,000 square feet including the vehicle areas. The second floor is over 8,500 square feet.

The building meets energy and recycling requirements of the state. Energy-efficient lighting and use of natural light is another highlight. There is also a locker room for the crew.