Contact: Michael Mascari, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Public Affairs
(303) 236-4336; firstname.lastname@example.org
Coleharbor, N.D.-Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar recently got a first-hand look at the benefits of the Stimulus program at Audobon National Wildlife Refuge.
The Secretary visited the job site where workers are building a new environmentally friendly $6.1 million headquarters and visitor center. Secretary Salazar rolled up his sleeves, offering a helping hand at the facility being built by American Recovery and Reinvestment (ARRA) funds.
The new building will be certified through the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) process and is being constructed using sustainable design and energy conservation technology. It will provide visitors an outstanding experience, with state-of-the-art classrooms, enhanced exhibits, and large meeting spaces while providing employees a safe and efficient working environment.
The structure will replace the existing 52-year-old center, which is in disrepair due to age and weather, and is no longer safe. The older building also contains asbestos, mold and has a persistent pest problem.
Employees of Grand Forks, North Dakota-based Keplin-Gracon JV are benefiting from the project. Senior Project Manager Michael ‘Bo’ Brown said 75-80 percent of the workers live in North Dakota, but people suppliers and manufacturers outside the state will also benefit from the project.
“If you look at the construction process, it takes roughly 50 percent raw materials and 50 percent labor to build something of this type, which works out to be in the neighborhood of 50,000 man-hours utilized on the project,” Brown said. “Between off-site manufacturing and on-site construction, this project has quite a positive economic impact.” Brown added there will be 8 to 15 on the job site at any given time during the 16 month project.Visit the Audubon National Wildlife Refuge project page for additional information and photographs.