Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) Director Jeff Koenings will lead a groundbreaking ceremony July 27 for construction of the agency's new regional office at Mirabeau Point in Spokane Valley.
The groundbreaking ceremony will also be attended by State Senator Bob McCaslin of the fourth legislative district, who led the effort to secure funds for the project; Washington Fish and Wildlife Commissioner Fred Shiosaki, who resides in Spokane; and WDFW Eastern Regional Director John Andrews.
"This new building not only signifies a major investment in our employees, but also a major investment in the region and its residents," Koenings said. "Fish and wildlife, and the many cultural, economic and other benefits they provide, are an important part of this community. This new building will help us maintain the level of services needed to make sure it remains that way."
"Construction of this new regional office is a great example of the 'can do' spirit exhibited by the Department in recent years," said Commissioner Fred Shiosaki. "It's a spirit that has manifested itself in many ways, from hugely popular kids' fishing promotions to expanded hunting and wildlife viewing opportunities."
The new building will accommodate up to 50 staff and provide more efficient professional customer service. The need for a new headquarters was identified over a decade ago. The current Spokane facility is a cramped, 50-year-old building in North Spokane. Many Spokane-area WDFW staff work are forced to lease space elsewhere or work from home offices because the building is too small to accommodate them.
The Washington Legislature and Governor Gary Locke approved $3.9 million in the 2003-05 state budget for phase one of the office, laboratory, shop and warehouse complex project, covering site selection, design, site preparation, and office construction.
WDFW had requested $5.6 million to include construction of a small laboratory for fish and wildlife science needs, a small shop for access site maintenance, and a warehouse for boat and other equipment storage. Those parts of the project will likely be dependent on phase two state funding.
The new building was designed by architect Jerry Ressa of the Spokane office of Pacific Design Group. The construction contract was awarded this month to Western States Construction, Inc. of Spokane. Construction should be complete next spring.
"We've worked on this project for a long time," Andrews said, "so we're excited to see it become a reality."
The groundbreaking ceremony starts at 1 p.m. at the building site, 2315 North Discovery Place, just southeast of the YMCA and next door to the Children's Home Society, northeast of Mirabeau Parkway and Indiana Avenue (just north of Interstate 90, between the Pines and Evergreen road exits.).