MOUNT STERLING, Ill. -- Dot Foods unveiled its state-of-the-art $14.2 million office expansion Wednesday afternoon before a large gathering of employees and Mount Sterling community members.
Dot Foods CEO Joe Tracy said the 60,000-square-foot expansion, which joins the north end of Dot's existing office structure, was designed to make employees more comfortable. With that end in mind, a full commercial kitchen was incorporated into the new building, along with a corporate chef, quiet rooms, a coffee bar and a mother's room for nursing mothers.
"This is not your average office," Tracy said. "We designed this space to make employees more comfortable in the time they spend at work each day and to give them tools to encourage more collaboration."
Employees enter through a covered patio area, and there is an open patio area on the second story. The expansion also added 3 acres of green space, known by Dot employees as "the Park," on the grounds, with a pond and a half-mile of sidewalks.
The inside of the building emphasizes openness and brightness. Floor-to-ceiling windows were installed with a coating to prevent glare. Cubicle walls were kept low to keep the space open, and the desks installed are adjustable, allowing employees to stand or sit based on preference.
"We wanted to create an environment where people could sit in a variety of different areas," said Bill Mummey, Dot Foods director of corporate facilities. "We've never had that, and to see people actually use what we've created is fantastic."
Mummey led a tour through the new addition Wednesday after a ribbon cutting. Tour groups passed through the new auditorium, which accommodates 125 people; the improved employee break area; and the new kitchen. The expansion added 200 cubicles, 25 offices and 12 meeting rooms.
"We hope this attracts really good employees," Mummey said. "One of the struggles about being so far away from a metropolitan area is attracting people to make that commute. We have to give them a reason to want to come here."
Every meeting room in the building has a theme. The meeting room closest to the entrance is known as Dorothy's Room and features photos of Dorothy Tracy, wife of Dot Foods' founder, Robert Tracy, who named the company after her.
"The expansion is a reflection of the growth we've been fortunate to experience," Tracy said, "but we also wanted it to honor the history of our business."
The next step will be to renovate Dot Foods' main corporate building in the style of the new office expansion to provide a seamless flow between the two. Work will begin in July on the first floor, and Mummey hopes to have that work completed by February. The second floor will be renovated after that.