New Border Patrol station nears completion
By the end of the month, the big new building for the U.S. Border Patrol's Grand Forks station will be completed. Workers with Construction Engineers are putting on the standing seam metal roof on the building this week at the site just west of t...
By the end of the month, the big new building for the U.S. Border Patrol's Grand Forks station will be completed.
Workers with Construction Engineers are putting on the standing seam metal roof on the building this week at the site just west of the Grand Forks International Airport, said Tom McDonald, project manager for the Grand Forks firm, on Tuesday.
"They are doing the office, and it should be complete by the end of the week," McDonald said of his employees. "Then, it will take about three weeks to finish the parking garage."
Construction Engineers broke ground on the project in July and worked fast to satisfy the federal urgency to get it done, McDonald said. "It will be complete the first of March."
That's on target and then some.
In July, federal officials said construction was "expected to be complete during the first quarter of 2010."
The building will have the capacity to house 50 Border Patrol agents.
That's more than are working in the current Border Patrol Grand Forks Station on 24th Avenue South, a block or two east of Columbia Road, which also houses agents of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, said Bryce Koether, public affairs officer for the Border Patrol in Grand Forks.
The Border Patrol's sector headquarters at 2320 S. Washington St. isn't included in the new building's mission.
Koether said because of security reasons, he can't say exactly how many officers now work in the Grand Forks Station, except it's fewer than 50.
The entire Grand Forks sector, which services eight states -- North Dakota, Minnesota, South Dakota, Wisconsin, Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri and Iowa -- has seven other Border Patrol stations, plus Grand Forks: at Bottineau, Pembina and Portal in North Dakota, and at Duluth, International Falls, Grand Marais and Warroad in Minnesota.
There is at total of 180 Border Patrol agents at the eight stations, Koether said. And after two years of aggressive recruiting, the sector has about the staffing level it needs, he said.
The new Grand Forks station is large, 34,000 square feet, and is just north of U.S. Highway 2 on Grand Forks County Highway 5, just west of the airport.
The building includes a huge parking facility, so officers now have indoor parking for their vehicles, which they don't in the current building, Koether said. The indoor parking will be useful, since the patrol recently bought a fleet of new sport utility vehicles for agents.
There also is a detention area for temporary holds of those arrested by Border Patrol officers.
The entire facility is surrounded by fence, a new measure of the upgraded security that the Department of Homeland Security is implementing in all its agencies including the Customs and Border Protection, of which the Border Patrol is a part, Koether said.
The federal government's General Services Administration, is the actual property holder that will lease the facility to the Border Patrol, Koether said.
ICE officers will not use the new building, he said. Grand Forks was the only Border Patrol station in the sector that was "co-located" with ICE, he said.
The Border Patrol's relatively new Air and Marine division has a facility located at the airport and also houses its unmanned aerial systems operation at Grand Forks Air Force Base.
The new station building will give the Border Patrol officers more to do more with, federal officials said in a news release:
"The new facility will enable Border Patrol agents to effectively prevent the entry of terrorists and their weapons of terrorism into the United States, while maintaining their traditional mission to detect, apprehend and prevent illegal aliens, narcotics and other contraband from crossing the border, as well as assisting local law enforcement agencies in the communities that we serve."
GSA received $5.5 billion in federal stimulus funding over the past year and is using it to build and renovate federal buildings, including facilities under DHS, in "green" fashion, called LEED, for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design.
The new Grand Forks Station of the Border Patrol is constructed in the LEED mode, but Koether said he didn't know if stimulus funds were used to build it.
He said he wasn't able to reveal the cost of the new facility.
Reach Lee at (701) 780-1237; (800) 477-6572, ext. 237; or send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org .