An engineering and design firm with its roots in this area will be settling in further in about a month with new Hays headquarters.

But first, they’ll have to “make some dust,” as partner James Meis said.

Driggs Design Group purchased the former Vision Video Labs building, 1017 Downing. The technology repair and consulting business closed at the end of the year.

Friday, a day after closing on the property, Meis and his employees Kurt Tschanz, Kord Albers and Brandon Jacobs were busy in the demolishing phase of remodeling the building to their needs.

Driggs Design was founded in 2013 by Phillipsburg native Buck Driggs with offices in Hays and Manhattan. Meis, who grew up in Catharine, had been working with Driggs as a surveyor and partnered with him in 2015. The company has been growing quickly.

“We have been growing crazy,” Driggs said in a phone interview Friday. “We’ve been averaging about 40 percent growth per year.”

The company employs a total of 11 between the two offices and just opened an office in Emporia.

Its projects include the $1.5 million Eight Street reconstruction in Hays, $800,000 street project in Ellis, $300,000 improvements at the Schoenchen wastewater lagoon, construction on the Fort Hays State University campus and materials testing and inspections for Smith County Memorial Hospital.

The firm covers about half the state, though, Meis said. He’s traveled from the Oklahoma to Nebraska borders, and from the Colorado line as far east as Riley County, he said.

Hays was a good location for an office, Driggs said.

“I just liked the area and had several ties to the area. There was kind of a market because there wasn’t another engineering firm there,” he said.

Until now, Driggs Design has leased space in Hays, first at the Hadley Center and currently at 2819 Plaza Ave. Once completed, the new location will more than double their current space.

That will particularly be beneficial for the company’s lab facilities, currently in a 10-by-10 space that overflows into work areas, Meis said.

“For every street project or building project we make our concrete cylinders, we have to keep them in a water bath. So we have these stock tanks all over the floor, so it takes up a lot of room. We basically had those tanks all around our desks,” he said.

The new location will also allow for a conference room, offices and workspaces, ADA compliant restrooms and a break room.

“We got real lucky with the building,” Meis said. “Prestressed concrete panels and full-span trusses, so there’s no load-bearing wall. We can take out any wall.”

This summer, they’ll add three interns — two from Kansas State University and one from Colorado School of Mines. Meis said the new space will eventually let the firm expand the Hays office to five to 10 employees.

“We’ve been fortunate to find the guys we have that have Hays roots, and we hope to keep growing with that mentality,” Driggs said.

“Bringing in the interns allows us to bring in young people and get them used to the way we work, getting them used to the profession. And hopefully we can keep keep some of these young professional coming back to Hays,” Meis said.

Meis said he hopes to be moved into the Downing Avenue space by the end of the month, but that depends on how much work the Hays crew has to do. January and February are slow months for survey jobs, he said.

“But during that time, our engineering staff, that’s probably about the busiest time because they’re ramping up trying to get all their plans out for the spring construction season,” he said.

“Since we do cover such a large area, we spend a lot of time out on the road and the weather’s been hurting us. I pretty much told everybody if we can get in here for a good seven days, get most of it done, then we’ll be in good shape,” he said.

Driggs Design employees will do most of the work, with the exception of parts of the job, such as sewer upgrades, HVAC and drywall.