U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service employees much prefer being in new, larger buildings located inside the Dungeness National Wildlife Refugee than in an old John Deere building on South Barr Road along U.S. Highway 101.
"We're a lot happier here," said Kevin Ryan, the refuge's manager, regarding the early January move to the new location.
The impending U.S. Highway 101 widening project required relocating the U.S. Fish and Wildlife offices, equipment storage and maintenance shop along Highway 101 to a five-acre parcel along Holgerson Road in the Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge.
The new location includes an administration building, repair shop and equipment storage building.
Ryan said the administration building has a meeting room, library, storage room, which the old place didn't have, plus offices for a new biologist position and the refuge's volunteer program. It also includes a kitchen, telecommunications room, administrative area and a lobby.
"We're still unpacking and debugging the electrical and air conditioning systems. We plan to have an open house later," Ryan said.
Technically, the new building is called the Washington Maritime National Wildlife Refuge Complex Office.
That's because as well as the Dungeness Wildlife Refuge, the building's employees are responsible for the national wildlife refuges at Copalis Beach off the Pacific Coast, Flattery Rocks, Protection Island, Quillayute Needles and San Juan Islands.
Although the building isn't a visitor center, Ryan wants to put up lobby displays of the Dungeness and the other wildlife refuges, some of which aren't open to the public, that might not be so well known. A visitor contact station and new kiosk at the trailhead also are planned, Ryan said.
Besides the 2,300-square-foot administration building, the complex also includes a 3,850-square-foot shop building and a 2,200-square-foot storage building.
Ryan said the new structures are a useful addition because they couldn't get all their boats inside at the old building.
The county's WSU Cooperative Extension program planted Garry oaks on the site as part of a restoration program and now they are trying to "deer proof" them, he said, adding that deer also seem to like the rhododendrons.
The Highway 101 project will widen 2.5 miles between Port Angeles and Sequim that has been the scene of numerous serious collisions.
The project is in the design phase now and the state Department of Transportation will begin acquiring right of way in July 2009 when that funding becomes available. Surveyors already have become a common sight along the roadway.
The two-year project will go out to bid in April 2011 and probably be advertised for about two months.
Construction is scheduled to begin in July 2011 and end the late fall 2013.
Reach Brian Gawley at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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