SAN BENITO — A new 87,900-square-foot building will soon headquarter more than 100 employees currently located at four different offices in the mid and lower Valley.

Yesterday morning, AEP Texas conducted a ceremony in celebration of its new $24.5 million service center in San Benito.

Employees from smaller offices in Weslaco, Harlingen and San Benito will report to the new facility on Monday.

The building is located on a 40-acre site and is located at 1401 East Business 77 in San Benito near the former municipal airport. According to AEP, it was built to withstand a Category 5 hurricane.

In addition to offices, call centers and conference rooms, the service center has showers, a weight room and a laundry room.

AEP Texas Corporate Communications Representative Eladio Jaimez said the new service center will make response time quicker and more efficient for the area.

“Whenever there’s a power outage small or big, it’s going to happen out of here,” he said. “So, we have linemen, service crews, construction crews, engineers, transmission and everything in between housed in this one centralized location to serve the east end of the Valley.”

In July, AEP Texas opened a service center in Los Fresnos that serves the Port Isabel, Laguna Vista, Brownsville and South Padre Island areas.

The new center in San Benito will serve areas such as Rio Hondo, San Benito, Harlingen and up into the mid-Valley, so it gives it a more centralized location.

San Benito Mayor Ben Gomez said he believes the new service center will be great for the city’s economic growth.

“I know that they’re going to have 150 plus employees here in the San Benito area for AEP Texas,” he said. “I think that’s going to stimulate our economic growth here with our restaurants and businesses during the day, so I think it’s wonderful for AEP Texas to be here in our hometown of San Benito.”

AEP Texas delivers electricity to more than 1 million electric meters and serves homes, businesses and industries in south and west Texas.

Additionally, the company builds new power lines, restores service following outages, uses meters to record electric use for retail electric providers and connects and disconnects service upon the orders of retail service providers.