Centered in North Dakota, the Bakken Shale Formation extends into Montana and Saskatchewan, and is the site of many current mining operations. If you need to house your support workers or miners anywhere near Arnegard, N.D., in McKenzie County, you will soon have an option that didn’t exist a year ago.
The town of Arnegard, N.D., lies in the heart of the Bakken, about 100 miles west of Minot and 80 miles north of I-94. With a population of 115, lodging and amenities are sparse. But that’s about to change.
Dakota Insight Land & Investments (DIL&I) teamed up with Titanium Builders of Spokane, Wash. They are creating a state-of-the-art housing facility in partnership with InstaLodge, the “Hospitality Experts.” Their project, InstaLodge Centre, is just outside Arnegard. The first 200 rooms will be available by Jan. 1, 2013. And by June they will be built-out to 1,400 rooms, with an option to expand to 2,800 if needed. The site is located on 160 acres of scenic Midwest prairie.
InstaLodge Centre will serve all mining companies in the area. “I don’t really like the terms ‘man camp’ or ‘crew camp,’ which can give the wrong connotations,” says Joe Kachuroi, DIL&I principle and partner. “This is a high-quality facility, and we spent countless hours choosing the best designs and amenities.”
There are a plethora of trades needed for any mining operation. “We’ll support them all,” says Kachuroi. “That includes construction workers, roughnecks, service companies … even executives. The high-end design of InstaLodge Centre is intended to attract the high-end companies, but our doors are open to all takers.”
The business model is to offer long-term leases of at least six months, with the usual discounts for longer stays or block booking. Facility staff will be hired from the local area. “We want to be part of this community and give back,” says Kachuroi.
In addition to the main facility there are 52 stand-alone trailers, each with four beds and baths. All trailers have full kitchens, including dishes, cups, pots and pans, microwave, and toaster. Through-the-wall AC and heating, TV, and Internet are standard. A washer and dryer, fresh soap and towels, and house cleaning make this an option for workers who need to travel with their families.
The State of North Dakota is providing $1.6 billion in funds to expand four area airports. One of those is in Watford City, only 10 miles east of the InstaLodge Centre on State Route 23.
Not your typical crew camp
“We’ve been in contact with the top 15-plus mining companies,” says Kachuroi. “We believe we are positioned to attract workers from anywhere in McKenzie County.” Of course, they do have some competition. What Kachuroi believes will set them apart is an impressive array of services and amenities. Features of their infrastructure include:
- Guard gate security and a fenced perimeter
- Ample parking for cars and big rigs, and outlets for plug-in block heaters
- Corridor access to all parts of the facility
- Areas inside and out for sitting and relaxing
- Game room with billiards, foosball, and card tables
- Conference room, Internet café, and business center with mail delivery
- Free washers, dryers, and soap for both regular loads and oily loads
- 24/7 food service (and box lunches) in a 20 thousand square-foot cafeteria
- 24/7 access to a 20,000-square-foot swimming pool and gym with basketball
Beyond the infrastructure, individual room amenities include:
- High-quality beds, with mattress pads for cleanliness
- Alarm clock, telephone, flat-screen TV with cable and DVD
- Hardwired and Wi-Fi Internet access
- AC and heat with user-adjustable thermostat
- Full kitchen (with all utensils) and bath/shower combos
- Weekly (or on-demand) maid service
“Huge concerns when we were designing our rooms were comfort, safety, and convenience,” says Kachuroi. “We understand the need for a good night’s sleep after a hard day on the job.”
Even with a potential slow-down in the oil industry, natural gas production is ramping up. Many workers are needed just to service existing wells. And there are plans for a natural gas pipeline in the future. This bodes well for both the InstaLodge Centre, and the small town of Arnegard.